Guantanamo

A Coronavirus Lament by Guantánamo Prisoner Asadullah Haroon Gul

5.4.20

Following the news that a sailor stationed at Guantánamo has been diagnosed with the coronavirus, and is in isolation, here’s a cross-post, with my own introduction, of reflections on the news by Asadullah Haroon Gul, an Afghan “forever prisoner,” who is still held despite there being no compelling reason for his ongoing imprisonment, and who fears for the health of more vulnerable prisoners, like Saifullah Paracha, Guantánamo’s oldest prisoner, who has had a number of heart attacks.

The Coronavirus and Guantánamo’s Extraordinarily Vulnerable Prison Population

1.4.20

As the coronavirus spreads around the globe with alarming speed, there are fears for the prisoners held at Guantánamo, especially after a US sailor tested positive for the virus last week. Along with my own thoughts, I cross-post an article published on Just Security by Scott Roehm, the Washington Director of the Center for Victims of Torture, pointing out that a number of the prisoners have serious underlying health problems, and calling for a number of appropriate responses from the Trump administration, beginning with letting the prisoners and their lawyers know what policies are in place to deal with the virus, and also including a call for Congress to allow prisoners to be transferred to the US mainland if they need urgent medical care.

Uzair Paracha, Victim of Tortured Terrorism Lies, is Freed from US Jail; Why Is His Father Still at Guantánamo?

24.3.20

Good news for a change, as Uzair Paracha, convicted of terrorism-related charges in 2005, and given a 30-year sentence, has been freed and repatriated to Pakistan. In 2018, the judge who presided over his initial trial ordered a new trial after concluding that allowing the existing conviction to stand would be a “manifest injustice,” a decision based on serious doubts about the veracity of testimony against him that had been provided by prisoners at Guantánamo, previously held in CIA “black sites,” including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Sadly, although Uzair has been freed, his father, Saifullah, held on the basis of similar discredited testimony, is still held at Guantánamo, with no sign of when, if ever, he too will be freed.

Judge Orders Chelsea Manning’s Release From Jail for Not Cooperating With WikiLeaks Grand Jury, But Won’t Waive $256,000 Fines

15.3.20

Some good news for a change, as a US judge orders the release from jail of whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who has been imprisoned for a year for refusing to cooperate with a Grand Jury investigation into WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange. The judge, however, refused to waive the $256,000 that Manning was charged for refusing to cooperate with the investigation. I also draw parallels with the ongoing efforts in the UK to extradite Assange to the US to face espionage charges relating to WikiLeaks’ publication of the documents leaked by Manning.

US Judge Orders Independent Psychiatric Assessment of Tortured Guantánamo Prisoner Mohammed Al-Qahtani

13.3.20

In a historic US court ruling, District Judge Rosemary Collyer has ordered the US government to allow tortured Guantánamo prisoner Mohammed al-Qahtani, who has long-standing and profound mental health issues, to be assessed by “a mixed medical commission,” consisting of a US medical officer, and two doctors from a neutral country chosen by the International Committee of the Red Cross, to determine whether he should be returned to Saudi Arabia for treatment.

Please Support My Quarterly Fundraiser: Seeking $2500 (£2000) For My Guantánamo Work and London Photography

9.3.20

Here’s my latest quarterly fundraiser. As an independent journalist and activist, I’m dependent on the support of my readers to enable me to keep writing about Guantánamo, and working to get the prison closed, and also to support my ongoing photo-journalism project ‘The State of London.’ I hope that you can help!

“My Best Friend and Brother”: A Profile of Guantánamo Prisoner Khalid Qasim by Mansoor Adayfi

8.3.20

A powerful new article, originally published as a world exclusive on the Close Guantánamo website, by former Guantánamo prisoner Mansoor Adayfi, about his friend Khalid Qasim, a talented artist, singer and footballer, who is still held at Guantánamo, despite posing no threat to the US.

International Criminal Court Authorizes Investigation into War Crimes in Afghanistan, Including US Torture Program

5.3.20

My report on today’s great news that the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has approved an investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Afghanistan since May 2003 by US armed forces and members of the CIA, the Taliban and affiliated armed groups, and Afghan government forces, reversing a decision last year not to proceed with the investigation, which was widely perceived to have come about in response to pressure exerted by the Trump administration. Interestingly, although the US is not a party to the ICC Statute, the Court has jurisdiction over crimes committed by US actors in the territories of other State Parties to the ICC, and the investigation is, therefore, also empowered to look at crimes committed since July 2002 outside Afghanistan – at, for example, “black sites” in Poland, Romania and Lithuania.

Photos and Report: The Launch of “Guantánamo [Un]Censored: Art from Inside the Prison” at CUNY School of Law in New York

26.2.20

A second article about the launch of – and significance of – “Guantánamo [Un]Censored: Art from Inside the Prison,” an exhibition of Guantánamo prisoners’ artwork at CUNY School of Law in New York.

Humanizing the Silenced and Maligned: Guantánamo Prisoner Art at CUNY Law School in New York

22.2.20

My report about a powerful new exhibition of Guantánamo prisoners’ artwork that has just opened at CUNY School of Law in New York, featuring the work of eleven current and former prisoners, including Khalid Qasim, whose work I saw at a earlier version of the exhibition last month, during my annual US trip to call for the closure of the prison on the anniversary of its opening.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer (The State of London).
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