Six Prisoners Released From Guantanamo

By Sydney Palmer

WANT Original Content

Guantanamo Bay detention camp, a United States prison established on a U.S. naval base in Cuba in 2002, released six of its captives to Uruguay this past weekend. Guantanamo serves mainly as a prison for Afghani, Iraqi, and Yemeni wartime criminals, though the characterization of “criminal” is somewhat blurred as the detainees were never given a trial that convicted them of anything. The newly released detainees are the first group of Guantanamo prisoners to be resettled in South America by the U.S. government.

Since it was opened as part the “war on terror” that followed 9/11, Guantanamo has been the subject of immense scrutiny by human rights organizations and the media. This attention has only increased since the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s “Torture Report,” released Tuesday. The report detailed the horrifying practices swirling around the U.S.’s CIA Interrogation Program, much of which took place in Guantanamo. One of the six released prisoners, a Syrian named Abu Wa’el Dhiab, has been on and off hunger strikes for his past 12 years of detainment. Standard procedure at Guantanamo for dealing with a prisoner on a hunger strike has been to force feed the prisoner, but this practice has been attacked by human rights groups, which decry the painful insertion of feeding tubes used for each meal. Back in May, legal action was brought against the U.S. government concerning Dhiab’s force feeding. Ultimately, the District Court in Washington, D.C. had to make a hard decision whether to allow the continuation of force feeding or risk the prisoners’ death from starvation. They concluded that, “Mr. Dhiab may well suffer unnecessary pain from …feeding practices… However, the Court simply cannot let Mr. Dhiab die.” The Judge, Gladys Kessler, did order the government to release videos of the force-feedings to the public.

The horrific events being brought once again to the public’s attention serve to illuminate the shadowy corners of military interrogation and the questionable treatment of prisoners of war.

About Grace Masback

Grace Masback, 17, aspires to give voice to the voiceless and holds the modest ambition of becoming the voice of Gen Z. Frustrated by the dearth of impactful platforms for teen journalists, she founded WANT, a news, sports, and entertainment website that aggregates the best in high school journalism from school newspapers and teen bloggers around the world (www.wantnewsforteens.com).

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