For Ramadan, Please Write to the Hunger Striking Prisoners at Guantánamo

14.7.13

Every six months, I urge readers to send letters to the prisoners in Guantánamo, and, as this is the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which began July 8, there is no better time to write to the 166 men still held, the majority of whom have been on a hunger strike for over five months, protesting about conditions at the prison, and the failure of all three branches of the US government to free them or put them on trial.

In the last three years, just ten prisoners have been released, even though 86 of the men still held were cleared for release by the sober and responsible inter-agency Guantánamo Review Task Force, consisting of around 60 members of the major government departments and the intelligence agencies. Established by President Obama when he took office in 2009, the task force spent a year reviewing the men’s cases before reaching their decisions about who to release, who to prosecute, and, disturbingly, who to hold indefinitely without charge or trial on the basis that they are “too dangerous to release,” even though insufficient evidence exists to put them on trial. In the real world, what this means is that the supposed evidence is no such thing, and is, instead, a collection of extremely unreliable statements made by the prisoners themselves, and, more particularly, their fellow prisoners, as well as other intelligence reports of a dubious nature.

The Guantánamo Review Task Force’s report was published in January 2010, but it was not until last month that a document explaining which prisoners had been placed into which categories was released through FOIA legislation. I analyzed that document here, and noted which prisoners had been placed in which categories in the prisoner list on the CloseGuantánamo.org website.

To further clarify which prisoners are in which category, the list of prisoners you can write to, posted below, is divided into those cleared for release (86), those recommended for indefinite detention (46), and those recommended for prosecution (33). Please note that I have kept the spelling used by the US authorities in the “Final Dispositions” of the Guantánamo Review Task Force.

I dedicate this particular campaign to Adnan Latif, a Yemeni who was one of the Yemenis cleared for release, but who was not freed, because of bans on releasing cleared Yemenis that were imposed by both President Obama and Congress. Latif died at Guantánamo, reportedly by committing suicide, last September. President Obama has since dropped his ban, imposed after a Nigerian, recruited in Yemen, tried and failed to blow up a plane bound for the US on Christmas Day 2009 with a bomb in his underwear. Congress’s ban still stands, however, although President Obama can use a waiver in the legislation imposed by Congress, allowing him to bypass lawmakers and release prisoners if he regards it as being “in the national security interests of the United States.”

That time, of course, is now.

The letter-writing campaign was started two and a half years ago by two Facebook friends, Shahrina J. Ahmed and Mahfuja Bint Ammu, and it has been repeated every six months (see here, herehere and here).

If you are an Arabic speaker, or speak any other languages spoken by the prisoners besides English, feel free to write in those languages. Do please note that any messages that can be construed as political should be avoided, as they may lead to the letters not making it past the Pentagon’s censors, but be aware that your messages may not get through anyway — although please don’t let that put you off (see the note at the bottom of this article to explain why letters might be returned without explanation).

If you want any more encouragement about the significance for prisoners of receiving letters, then please watch the short film below — part of Amnesty International’s ongoing letter-writing campaign– featuring my friend, the former prisoner Omar Deghayes, showing letters he received in Guantánamo and explaining how much they meant to him — and to his fellow prisoners. This was filmed as part of an interview with Omar that is featured in the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (directed by Polly Nash and myself), and available on DVD here — or here for the US.

When writing to the prisoners, please ensure you include their full name and ISN (internment serial number) below (these are the numbers before their names, i.e. Shaker Aamer is ISN 239)

Please address all letters to:

Detainee Name
Detainee ISN
U.S. Naval Station
Guantánamo Bay
Washington, D.C. 20355
United States of America

Please also include a return address on the envelope.

The 86 prisoners cleared for release

The general phrase used by the task force to describe the recommendations for 56 of these men was “Transfer to a country outside the United States that will implement appropriate security measures.” Their identities were first revealed last September. See below for the 30 others.

The 30 non-Yemeni prisoners cleared for release

036 Ibrahim Othman Ibrahim Idris (Sudan)
038 Ridah Bin Saleh al Yazidi (Tunisia)
168 Adel Al Hakeemy (Tunisia)
174 Hasham Bin Ali Omar Sliti (Tunisia)
189 Salem Abdu Salam Ghereby (Libya)
197 Younis Abdurrahman Chekkouri (Morocco)
200 Saad Muhammad Husayn Qahtani (Saudi Arabia)
238 Nabil Said Hadjarab (Algeria)
239 Shaker Aamer (UK-Saudi Arabia)
257 Imar Hamzayavich Abdulayev (Tajikistan)
275 Yousef Abbas (China)
280 Saidullah Khalik (China)
282 Hajiakbar Abdul Ghuper (China)
288 Mutia Sadiq Ahmad Sayyab (Algeria)
290 Ahmed Bin Saleh Bel Bacha (Algeria)
309 Mjuayn Al-Din Jamal Al-Din Abd Al Fadhil Abd Al-Sattar (UAE)
310 Djamel Saiid Ali Ameziane (Algeria)
326 Ahmed Adnan Ahjam (Syria)
327 Ali Hussein Muhammed Shaban (Syria)
329 Abd Al Hadi Omar Mahmoud Faraj (Syria)
502 Abdul Bin Mohammed Abis Ourgy (Tunisia)
684 Mohammed Tahanmatan (Palestine)
722 Jihad Deyab (Syria)
757 Ahmed Abdel Aziz (Mauritania)
894 Abdullah Bin Ali Al Lufti (Tunisia)
899 Shawali Khan (Afghanistan)
928 Khi Ali Gul (Afghanistan)
934 Abdul Ghani (Afghanistan)
1103 Mohammed Zahir (Afghanistan)
10001 Bensayah Belkacem (Algeria)

The 26 Yemeni prisoners cleared for release

034 Al Khadr Abdallah Muhammad Al Yafi (Yemen)
035 Idris Ahmad Abd Al Qadir Idris (Yemen)
152 Asim Thahit Abdullah Al-Khalaqi (Yemen)
153 Fayiz Ahmad Yahia Suleiman (Yemen)
163 Khalid Abd Al Jabbar Muhammad Uthman Al Qadasi (Yemen)
170 Sharaf Ahmad Muhammad Mas’ud (Yemen)
224 Abd Al-Rahman Abdullah Ali Shabati (Yemen)
249 Muhammed Abdullah Al Hamiri (Yemen)
254 Muhammad Ali Husayn Khanayna (Yemen)
255 Said Muhammad Salih Hatim (Yemen)
259 Fadhel Hussein Saleh Hentif (Yemen)
511 Sulaiman Awath Sulaiman Bin Agell Al Nahdi (Yemen)
553 Abdul Khaled Al-Baydani (Yemen)
554 Fahmi Salem Said Al-Asani (Yemen)
564 Jalal Salam Awad Awad (Yemen)
566 Mansour Mohamed Mutaya Ali (Yemen)
570 Sabri Muhammad Ibrahim al-Qurashi (Yemen)
572 Salah Mohammad Salih al-Dhabi (Yemen)
574 Hamood Abdulla Hamood (Yemen)
575 Saa’d Nasser Moqbil al-Azani (Yemen)
680 Emad Abdallah Hassan (Yemen)
686 Abdel Ghaib Ahmad Hakim (Yemen)
689 Mohammed Ahmed Salam (Yemen)
690 Abdul Al Qader Ahmed Hassain (Yemen)
691 Muhammad Ali Salem Al Zarnuki (Yemen)
1015 Husayn Salim Muhammad Matari Yafai (Yemen)

The 30 Yemeni prisoners cleared for release but designated for “conditional detention”

These men were cleared for release by the task force, although the task force members conjured up a new category for them, “conditional detention,” which it described as being “based on the current security environment in that country.” The task force added, “They are not approved for repatriation to Yemen at this time, but may be transferred to third countries, or repatriated to Yemen in the future if the current moratorium on transfers to Yemen is lifted and other security conditions are met.”

026 Fahed Abdullah Ahmad Ghazi (Yemen)
030 Ahmed Umar Abdullah al-Hikimi (Yemen)
033 Mohammed Al-Adahi (Yemen)
040 Abdel Qadir Al-Mudafari (Yemen)
043 Samir Naji Al Hasan Moqbil (Yemen)
088 Adham Mohamed Ali Awad (Yemen)
091 Abdel Al Saleh (Yemen)
115 Abdul Rahman Mohammed Saleh (Yemen)
117 Mukhtar Anaje (Yemen)
165 Adil Said Haj Ubayd (Yemen)
167 Ali Yahya Mahdi (Yemen)
171 Abu Bakr ibn Ali Muhammad al Ahdal (Yemen)
178 Tariq Ali Abdullah Ba Odah (Yemen)
202 Mahmoud Omar Muhammad Bin Atef (Yemen)
223 Abd al-Rahman Sulayman (Yemen)
233 Abd al-Razaq Muhammed Salih (Yemen)
240 Abdallah Yahya Yusif Al Shibli (Yemen)
251 Muhammad Said Salim Bin Salman (Yemen)
321 Ahmed Yaslam Said Kuman (Yemen)
440 Muhammad Ali Abdallah Muhammad Bwazir (Yemen)
461 Abd al Rahman al-Qyati (Yemen)
498 Mohammed Ahmen Said Haider (Yemen)
506 Mohammed Khalid Salih al-Dhuby (Yemen)
509 Mohammed Nasir Yahi Khussrof (Yemen)
549 Umar Said Salim Al-Dini (Yemen)
550 Walid Said bin Said Zaid (Yemen)
578 Abdul al-Aziz Abduh Abdullah Ali Al Suwaydi (Yemen)
688 Fahmi Abdullah Ahmed al-Tawlaqi (Yemen)
728 Abdul Muhammad Nassir al-Muhajari (Yemen)
893 Tawfiq Nasir Awad Al-Bihani (Yemen)

The 46 prisoners recommended for continued detention

Of the 46 prisoners recommended for continued detention, the 33 men below were recommended for “Continued detention pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (2001), as informed by principles of the laws of war.” All were promised reviews of their cases (by the Periodic Review Board) when their detention without charge or trial was authorised by President Obama in an executive order in March 2011, but as I explained here, those reviews, shamefully, have not yet begun, two years and four months later.

The 33 prisoners recommended for continued detention (without possible transfer to imprisonment in the US)

ISN 004 Abdul Haq Wasiq (Afghanistan)
ISN 006 Mullah Norullah Noori (Afghanistan)
ISN 007 Mullah Mohammed Fazl (Afghanistan)
ISN 028 Moath Hamza Ahmed al-Alwi (Yemen)
ISN 031 Mahmud Abd Al Aziz Al Mujahid (Yemen)
ISN 037 Abdel Malik Ahmed Abdel Wahab al Rahabi (Yemen)
ISN 041 Majid Mahmud Abdu Ahmed (Yemen)
ISN 042 Abd al Rahman Shalbi Isa Uwaydah (Saudi Arabia)
ISN 044 Muhammed Rajab Sadiq Abu Ghanim (Yemen)
ISN 128 Ghaleb Nassar al Bihani (Yemen)
ISN 131 Salem Ahmad Hadi Bin Kanad (Yemen)
ISN 195 Mohammed Abd al Rahman al Shumrant [Shumrani] (Saudi Arabia)
ISN 232 Fawzi Khalid Abdullah Fahad al Odah (Kuwait)
ISN 242 Khalid Ahmed Qasim (Yemen)
ISN 244 Abdul Latif Nasir (Morocco)
ISN 324 Mashur Abdullah Muqbil Ahmed al-Sabri (Yemen)
ISN 434 Mustafa Abd al-Qawi Abd al-Aziz al-Shamiri (Yemen)
ISN 441 Abdul Rahman Ahmed (Yemen)
ISN 508 Salman Yahya Hassan Mohammad Rabei’i (Yemen)
ISN 552 Faez Mohammed Ahmed al-Kandari (Kuwait)
ISN 579 Khairullah Said Wali Khairkhwa (Afghanistan)
ISN 695 Omar Khalif Mohammed Abu Baker Mahjour Umar (Libya)
ISN 708 Ismael Ali Faraj Ali Bakush (Libya)
ISN 713 Mohammed al Zahrani (Saudi Arabia)
ISN 832 Mohammad Nabi Omari (Afghanistan)
ISN 836 Ayub Murshid Ali Salih (Yemen)
ISN 837 Bashir Nasir Ali al-Marwalah (Yemen)
ISN 838 Shawqi Awad Balzuhair (Yemen)
ISN 839 Musab Omar Ali al-Mudwani (Yemen)
ISN 840 Hail Aziz Ahmed al-Maythali (Yemen)
ISN 841 Said Salih Said Nashir (Yemen)
ISN 1045 Mohammed Kamin (Afghanistan)
ISN 10025 Mohammed Abdul Malik Bajabu (Kenya)

The 13 men below were recommended for “Continued detention pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (2001), as informed by principles of the laws of war, subject to further review by the Principals prior to the detainee’s transfer to a detention facility in the United States.” This is a reference to the Obama administration’s plans to bring prisoners to a facility on the US mainland, so that Guantánamo could be closed. These plans were blocked by Congress, but it is unclear why the task force only designated these 13 men for possible transfer to the US because, if the 33 others were to continue being held at Guantánamo, it would be impossible to close the prison.

The 13 prisoners recommended for continued detention (with possible transfer to imprisonment in the US)

ISN 027 Uthman Abd al-Rahim Muhammad Uthman (Yemen)
ISN 029 Mohammed al-Ansi (Yemen)
ISN 045 Ali Ahmad al-Rahizi (Yemen)
ISN 235 Saeed Ahmed Mohammed Abdullah Sarem Jarabh (Yemen)
ISN 522 Yassim Qasim Mohammed Ismail Qasim (Yemen)
ISN 560 Haji Wali Muhammed (Afghanistan)
ISN 576 Zahar Omar Hamis bin Hamdoun (Yemen)
ISN 975 Karim Bostan (Afghanistan)
ISN 1017 Omar Mohammed Ali al-Rammah (Yemen)
ISN 1119 Ahmid al Razak (Afghanistan)
ISN 1463 Abd al-Salam al-Hilah (Yemen)
ISN 10023 Guleed Hassan Ahmed (Somalia)
ISN 10029 Muhammad Rahim (Afghanistan)

The 33 prisoners recommended for prosecution

The task force recommended 36 prisoners for prosecution. Two (Ibrahim al-Qosi and Omar Khadr) accepted plea deals in their military commissions at Guantánamo, and were then released, and one other, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, was transferred to the US for a federal court trial (before Congress banned the transfer of prisoners to the US mainland for any reason, even trials), at which he received a life sentence. Of the 33, only 12 at most are ever likely to be tried, according to a statement made last month by Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, the chief prosecutor of the military commissions. Eight have already been charged (see below), which means that, of the 23 listed below, only four at most will ever be charged. The other 19, therefore, also need to have access to the Periodic Review Boards promised for the 46 men designated for indefinite detention but not yet implemented.

The 23 prisoners recommended for prosecution but not charged

ISN 063 Mohamed Mani Ahmad al Kahtani (Saudi Arabia)
ISN 535 Tariq Mahmoud Ahmed Al Sawah (Egypt)
ISN 569 Suhayl Abdul Anam al Sharabi (Yemen)
ISN 682 Abdullah Al Sharbi (Saudi Arabia)
ISN 685 Said bin Brahim bin Umran Bakush (Algeria)
ISN 694 Sufyian Barhoumi (Algeria)
ISN 696 Jabran Al Qahtani (Saudi Arabia)
ISN 702 Ravil Mingazov (Russia)
ISN 753 Abdul Sahir (Afghanistan)
ISN 760 Mohamedou Ould Slahi (Mauritania)
ISN 762 Obaidullah (Afghanistan)
ISN 1094 Saifullah Paracha (Pakistan)
ISN 1453 Sanad Al Kazimi (Yemen)
ISN 1456 Hassan Bin Attash (Saudi Arabia)
ISN 1457 Sharqawi Abdu Ali Al Hajj (Yemen)
ISN 1460 Abdul Rabbani (Pakistan)
ISN 1461 Mohammed Rabbani (Pakistan)
ISN 10016 Zayn al-Ibidin Muhammed Husayn aka Abu Zubaydah (Palestine)
ISN 10017 Mustafa Faraj Muhammed Masud al-Jadid al-Usaybi (Libya)
ISN 10019 Encep Nurjaman (Hambali) (Indonesia)
ISN 10021 Mohd Farik bin Amin (Malaysia)
ISN 10022 Bashir bin Lap (Malaysia)
ISN 3148 Haroon al-Afghani (Afghanistan)

The eight prisoners already charged

ISN 768 Ahmed Al-Darbi (Saudi Arabia)
ISN 10011 Mustafa Ahmad al Hawsawi (Saudi Arabia)
ISN 10013 Ramzi Bin Al Shibh (Yemen)
ISN 10014 Walid Mohammed Bin Attash (Yemen)
ISN 10015 Mohammed al Nashiri (Saudi Arabia)
ISN 10018 Ali abd al Aziz Ali (Pakistan)
ISN 10024 Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (Kuwait)
ISN 10026 Nashwan abd al-Razzaq abd al-Baqi (Hadi) (Iraq)

The two prisoners already convicted via plea deal

ISN 707 Noor Uthman Muhammed (Sudan)
ISN 10020 Majid Khan (Pakistan)

One other prisoner convicted under President Bush

Ali Hamza al-Bahlul was not included in the task force’s deliberations, as he had been tried and convicted in a one-sided trial by military commission in October 2008, at which he refused to mount a defense. His conviction was dismissed by an appeals court in January this year, although the government has appealed.

ISN 039 Ali Hamza al-Bahlul (Yemen)

Note: For further information on the prisoners, see my four-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list (Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four).

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer and film-maker. He is the co-founder of the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the four-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see the definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

36 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    On Facebook, Mui JS wrote:

    I’ve written to a number of prisoners from more countries than I can count and I’ve never had anything returned.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Mui. Glad to hear that you’ve never had anything returned. Maybe the bad old days of showing who’s boss by randomly turning away numerous letters is over, but I’d need a few second opinions to be thoroughly convinced.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Mui JS wrote:

    That’s true. Maybe others don’t have my special magic/s

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    I hope it isn’t too confusing that I arranged the prisoners by categories based on the recently released “Final Dispositions” of the Guantanamo Review Task Force, showing who, back in January 2010, the task force recommended for release, for “conditional detention,” for continued detention and for prosecution. It shouldn’t make any difference as to who receives a letter, of course, plus, at the moment (and it’s been this way for the last few years), everyone on that list is indefinitely detained and will be until President Obama does something about it. That’s still the most salient fact right now.

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Mui JS wrote:

    It’s a little confusing. Amnesty campaign only included names of cleared. That leaves persons like Fayiz al Kandari out, which I don’t agree with. My concern is that people will take the divisions seriously.

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Mui JS wrote:

    I’m sure the mil is still perfectly arbitrary in letting letters in out, returned, scrapped or whatever. Arbitrary is what they excel at.

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, exactly. Mui. As for people not recognizing that the different categories are not an indication of any kind of proof of anything, I scattered comments and links throughout the article to let people know that there are profound problems with the supposed evidence, particularly against those designated for “continued detention,” and that, of those designated for prosecution, the chief prosecutor recently conceded that, although 33 men are on the list, only 12 at most will ever be tried. Hopefully that’s enough.

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Mo D’Oh wrote:

    FYI:

    The inmates of the army-controlled detention centre ended, or at least paused, the hunger strike on Friday as 99 of the 102 prisoners have now eaten at least one meal in the past 24 hours.

    They are still considered hunger strikers because the military requires several days of sustained eating and a minimal caloric intake before a prisoner is removed from the list.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/americas/2013/07/201371324022408210.html

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    There’s no actual sign that the hunger strike is coming to an end, Mo D’oh, despite the way it’s being reported. Why are the men going to give up, when none of them have been released? The military now claims “just” 81 men are hunger strikers, but the same number as previously – 45 – are still being force-fed, which is the most alarming statistic. Stuff like this, via the AP, is really unnecessary: Navy Capt. Robert Durand said, “We are just pleased that they are for the most part eating and for the most part we are having good order and discipline in the camps.”

    The military is pushing the line that they’re really a bunch of benevolent jailers. As the AP also reported, “Ramadan, an important period in the Muslim calendar in which the observant abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset, has typically been a relatively tranquil period at Guantanamo. Prison officials issued a ‘pardon’ that erased the men’s accumulated disciplinary infractions and permitted many of them to pray together this week after having spent recent weeks largely isolated from each other.”

    That’s good, but it doesn’t address the political problem – that these men being allowed to pray together just now are all still indefinitely detained, and will die at Guantanamo, maybe tomorrow, maybe decades hence, until President Obama starts releasing them. A few Ramadan treats doesn’t really resolve that.

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Mo D’oh wrote:

    thank you for clearing that up, Andy Worthington… i was wondering about this article and you were the one person i thought of ….

  11. zilma nunes says...

    O one God of all nations.
    You created the earth and the cosmos,
    in their differences, beauty and frailty.

    The various cultures and religions seek You,
    the origin of all things.
    You want all to be for each other, not a threat,
    but a blessing.

    Our one world should be, by Your will,
    an inhabitable and peaceful home.

    You chose the Near East to make known to us all
    Your Name and Your Path in many places.
    Abraham, the Father in faith of Jews, Muslims and Christians,
    listened to your appeal in the region between the
    Euphrates and the Tigris, the present-day Iraq.

    To the old and new People of Israel You promised
    life and a future in a special way.

    As Christian women and men, we thank You
    especially for our Lord and Brother Jesus Christ.
    He is our Peace.
    He came to knock down walls and to give to all, without distinction,
    life and a future.

    We know ourselves to be in communion with the
    Churches of the Near East.
    They give testimony to the Gospel of Jesus,
    to the liberating power of non-violence
    and to the certainty of the Resurrection.

    We also pray to You
    in unity with all the Brothers and Sisters of those Religions,
    which have their origins in the Near East.

    You created us all in Your own images and likeness,
    we are Your image.
    In all those that seek You in truth,
    You have inspired hunger and thirst for justice
    and a desire for peace.

    All, Muslims, Christians and Members of the People of Israel,
    earnestly aspire to reconciliation.

    All are in mourning for the victims
    of hatred and violence.
    All, in accordance with Your project, are also called
    to collaborate in the construction of a new world.

    We, therefore, beseech You:
    Have mercy on all the victims and on all the blameworthy.
    Put an end to the spiral of violence, of enmity,
    of hatred, of vendetta.

    Give to all, especially to those responsible for politics,
    the conviction that the way to lasting peace
    is not that of war,
    but of peace with justice.

    Awaken in all the Religions
    and in the people of today that they should be
    instruments and messengers
    of a different world.

    Cause hearts to open and war to cease,
    before it even begins.
    Give lasting peace to the Near East.
    Make a secure homeland a reality for all.

    Lord, have all those of good will from all Religions,
    in the North and South, in the East and West, in common responsibility,
    to demolish the mountain of misunderstanding,
    to fill in the trenches of hatred
    and to make smooth the paths towards a common future.

    Make the guns silent in our one world
    and have, instead, the appeal for peace resound ever stronger,
    for all, without distinction.
    O Lord, the one God.

  12. Farooq K. Qazi says...

    Perhaps it would be great if contributors shared samples of what they’ve written to the unlawful detainees. This way those who’re having trouble as to what should be written and what would be appropriate would get an idea of what they can do.

    Thanks,

  13. Mark Erickson says...

    I’ve said I would write a letter in the past, but have never done so. Shame on me. I am changing this now. Thank you Andy for everything you’ve done.

    I don’t think I’ve seen the comprehensive list of prisoners and their situations laid out like this before. It’s great. I suggest that you place it in a PDF and provide a link to it on a sidebar. Such an incredible resource should be promoted as much as possible.

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Zilma, for the prayer for peace. Much appreciated.

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    Hi Farooq,
    What a wonderful idea. If anyone would like to oblige, please send me your messages for the benefit of other people who might be uncertain about what to write.

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Mark. Great to hear from you. I’m planning to do some sort of annotated version, to be made available as a page rather than a post. Watch this space!

  17. Brian Scott says...

    God bless you, Andy.
    This is a great post, this clarification of the distinctions that the US military is making between categories of prisoners.

    I have never before thought to write to a “Detainee;” this post changed that.

    Always one to go for the low-hanging fruit, I chose to write to Mr. Aamer.
    I sarcastically suggested that, next time he has tea with the Warden, to remind him that paragraph 6-7.b.(2) of Army Regulation 190-8 says that he is entitled to have his family visit him at Gitmo.
    This is actually true. See http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/law/ar190-8.pdf‎

    My intent was to communicate this fact to the censors; this note will never make it to the addressee.

  18. Brian Scott says...

    Sorry.
    that link didn’t work too well.

    Try http://www.army.mil/usapa/epubs/pdf/r190_8.pdf

    Or just google AR 190-8.

  19. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Brian. Great to hear from you. And that is, of course, a very important point to make to the authorities at Guantanamo.

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    Nicole Briggs wrote:

    I was told by a former inmate that they very rarely get letters

  21. Andy Worthington says...

    That’s not completely true, Nicole. Watch the video included in the article, and see how many letters and cards Omar Deghayes received. However, it’s also obvious that not everything gets through – part of the process of dehumanizing and disorientating the prisoners.

  22. Andy Worthington says...

    Durre Leo wrote:

    but da thing how am i suppose to send da letter? to whom should i sent it?

  23. Andy Worthington says...

    Hi, Durre Leo. The instructions are in the article. Pick a prisoner, and then send a card or letter to:
    Detainee Name
    Detainee ISN
    Guantánamo Bay
    P.O. Box 160
    Washington, D.C. 20053
    United States of America

  24. T says...

    Thank you for this article, it’s very moving, I will write today

  25. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, T. That’s great to hear.

  26. Andy Worthington says...

    Nicole Briggs wrote:

    Omar was the one who told me the inmates received very little mail.

  27. Andy Worthington says...

    That’s sad to hear, Nicole. I would imagine that certain prisoners have their mail interfered with more than others.

  28. Robert Rosser says...

    Andy:
    Now that Ramadan is over, an update would be good.
    Also, the Army Regs say, “Letters and cards to or from EPW/RP sent by ordinary mail
    are postage free.” Is this still the case (since the Regs are dated 1997)?

  29. Andy Worthington says...

    Hi Robert,
    Good to hear from you.
    The letter-writing campaign is an ongoing project, which I advertise every six months, although I’ll certainly provide updates on the conditions in Guantanamo if I receive any information.
    As for postage, the prisoners in Guantanamo are not regarded as EPWs, so I doubt that postage is free.

  30. S says...

    Thanks Andy. We’ve been using your lists to write to the prisoners for the last couple of years. Please could you let me know if you have an address you wouldn’t mind us using as a return address for our letters? Many people are reluctant to use their own home address, and finding a return address to use is holding up our letters.

    Thanks again

  31. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for the message, S. I will email you.

  32. dania says...

    hi andy,
    are the detainees allowed to write back?

  33. dania says...

    also!
    will I by any chance know if the detainee has received my letter?
    thanks very much

  34. Andy Worthington says...

    Hi Dania,
    I have heard that sometimes people have heard from prisoners, but I don’t think it happens very often.
    As for whether letters get through to prisoners, I don’t suppose there’s generally any way of knowing, but it is worth doing!

  35. S says...

    Hi Andy,

    Please could you direct me to an updated list for this Ramadan’s letter writing campaign, or let us know which of the prisoners from this list have been released.

    Many thanks

  36. Andy Worthington says...

    Hi S,
    You can find an updated list on the “Close Guantanamo” site, which I run: http://www.closeguantanamo.org/Prisoners
    I’ll be posting a new letter-writing campaign here in the next few weeks.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, filmmaker, photographer and Guantanamo expert
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