rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » News » GITMO IN PHOTOS: A decade of American 'hell' on earth

GITMO IN PHOTOS: A decade of American 'hell' on earth

Last updated on: January 11, 2012 09:32 IST

GITMO IN PHOTOS: A decade of American 'hell' on earth

     Next

Next

Despite widespread efforts to shut it down, Guantanamo Bay, the infamous extrajudicial detainment and interrogation facility of the United States located in Cuba, completes a decade of existence on Wednesday.

The facility was established in 2002 by the George W Bush administration to hold detainees from the war in Afghanistan and later Iraq.

Please click NEXT to read further...


Image: A sign marks a closed-off area, at Camp Justice, the location of the US Military Commissions court for war crimes, at Guantanamo Bay
Photographs: Brennan Linsley/Reuters

     Next

GITMO IN PHOTOS: A decade of American 'hell' on earth

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

It is operated by the Joint Task Force Guantanamo of the United States government in Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, which is on the shore of Guantanamo Bay. The detainment areas consist of three camps: Camp Delta (which includes Camp Echo), Camp Iguana, and Camp X-Ray, the last of which has been closed.

During the 2008 US presidential campaign, Barack Obama described Guantanamo Bay as a 'sad chapter in American history,' but even his promises to shut down the controversial facility are yet to transform to reality.


Image: A Guantanamo detainee's feet are shackled to the floor as he attends a "Life Skills" class inside the Camp 6 high-security detention facility at the US naval base
Photographs: Michelle Shephard/Reuters

Prev     Next

GITMO IN PHOTOS: A decade of American 'hell' on earth

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

It is notorious for unbelievable torture techniques. In 'Gitmo,' many detainees have alleged that prison authorities have exhorted to techniques like sleep deprivation, beatings, locking in confined cold cells, forcible drugging, on convicts, which often led to suicide attempts. Human rights group have argued that indefinite detention itself constitutes torture.

After the US Department of Justice advised that the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp could be considered outside US legal jurisdiction, the first 20 captives arrived at Guantanamo on January 11, 2002.


Image: A view of a common area at the medium security prison inside Camp IV at the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay US naval base
Photographs: Deborah Gembara/Reuters

Prev     Next

GITMO IN PHOTOS: A decade of American 'hell' on earth

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

The Bush administration asserted that detainees were not entitled to any of the protections of the Geneva Conventions, stating that detainees were not prisoners of war and did not enjoy necessary safeguards for men/women in uniform.

However, the US Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that they were entitled to the minimal protections listed under Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.

In 2009, Susan J Crowford, an officer in Bush administration, admitted that torture was prevalent in Gitmo.


Image: Protesters seeking the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility wear orange jumpsuits and black hoods as they demonstrate outside the White House in Washington, DC
Photographs: Jason Reed/Reuters

Prev     Next

GITMO IN PHOTOS: A decade of American 'hell' on earth

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

On January 22, 2009, the White House announced that President Barack Obama had signed an order to suspend the proceedings of the Guantanamo military commission for 120 days and that the detention facility would be shut down within the year.

On January 29, 2009, a military judge at Guantanamo rejected the White House request in the case of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, creating an unexpected challenge for the administration as it reviews how America puts Guantanamo detainees on trial.


Image: A Guantanamo detainee runs inside an exercise area at the detention facility
Photographs: Michelle Shephard/Reuters

Prev     Next

GITMO IN PHOTOS: A decade of American 'hell' on earth

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

On May 20, 2009, the United States Senate passed an amendment to the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2009 to block funds needed for the transfer or release of prisoners held at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. As of January 2012, 171 detainees remain at Guantanamo.

The final report of the Guantanamo Review Task Force dated January 22, 2010 published the results for the 240 detainees subject to the review: 36 were the subject of active cases or investigations; 30 detainees from Yemen were designated for 'conditional detention' due to the security environment in Yemen; 126 detainees were approved for transfer; 48 detainees were determined 'too dangerous to transfer but not feasible for prosecution'.


Image: A guard watches over Guantanamo detainees inside the exercise yard at Camp 5 detention facility at Guantanamo Bay
Photographs: Brennan Linsley/Reuters

Prev     Next

GITMO IN PHOTOS: A decade of American 'hell' on earth

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

In 2011, President Obama signed the 2011 Defense Authorization Bill which contains provisions preventing the transfer of Guantanamo prisoners to the mainland or to other foreign countries, and thus effectively stops the closure of the detention facility.

After the United Nations called unsuccessfully for the Guantanamo Bay detention camp to be closed, one judge observed, "America's idea of what is torture ... does not appear to coincide with that of most civilised nations."


Image: Detainees talk together inside the open-air yard at the Camp 4 detention facility at Guantanamo Bay
Photographs: Brennan Linsley/Reuters

Prev     Next

GITMO IN PHOTOS: A decade of American 'hell' on earth

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

In April 2011, whistleblower website Wikileaks began publishing 779 secret files relating to prisoners in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

Many detainees, especially Muslims, have alleged ongoing torture, sexual degradation, forced drugging and religious persecution being committed by the US forces at Guantanamo Bay.

 


Image: A demonstrator protests outside the US embassy in London for the release from the US prison in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, of British detainee Binyam Mohamed
Photographs: Toby Melville/Reuters

Prev     Next

GITMO IN PHOTOS: A decade of American 'hell' on earth

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Former Guantanamo detainee Mehdi Ghezali was freed without charge on July 9, 2004, after two and a half years internment. Ghezali claimed that he was the victim of repeated torture.

Omar Deghayes, a Libyan citizen and British resident captured in Pakistan, alleged he was blinded by pepper spray during his detention.


Image: A view of a control tower building for an abandoned airport at the Guantanamo Bay US naval base
Photographs: Randall Mikkelsen/Reuters

Prev     Next

GITMO IN PHOTOS: A decade of American 'hell' on earth

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Juma Al Dossary, a Bahrainian detainee, claimed he was interrogated hundreds of times, beaten, tortured with broken glass, barbed wire, burning cigarettes, and sexual assaults.

Many former detainees have also alleged forced feeding during hunger strikes for better living conditions. It is also worthy to note that by 2008, there were at least four official suicides and hundreds of suicide attempts at the facility.


Image: A guard looks from a tower above the Camp 4 detention facility for terrorism suspects at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay
Photographs: Randall Mikkelsen/Reuters

Prev     Next

GITMO IN PHOTOS: A decade of American 'hell' on earth

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

On June 10, 2006, three detainees were found dead, who, according to the Pentagon, "killed themselves in an apparent suicide pact."

Then prison commander Rear Admiral Harry Harris claimed this was not an act of desperation, despite prisoners' pleas to the contrary, but rather "an act of asymmetric warfare committed against us."

 


Image: Protesters kneel as they take part in an Amnesty International demonstration, to demand the closure of the Guantanamo detention centre
Photographs: Andrew Winning/Reuters

Prev     Next

GITMO IN PHOTOS: A decade of American 'hell' on earth

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

At the time, human rights groups called for an independent public inquiry into the deaths.Amnesty International said the apparent suicides "are the tragic results of years of arbitrary and indefinite detention" and called the prison "an indictment" of the George Bush administration's human rights record.

Saudi Arabia's state-sponsored Saudi Human Rights group also blamed the US for the deaths. "There are no independent monitors at the detention camp so it is easy to pin the crime on the prisoners... it's possible they were tortured," said the group's deputy director in a statement.

 


Image: In this photo reviewed by US military officials, a detainee whose name, nationality, and facial identification are not permitted, holds onto a fence as a US military guard walks past the grounds of the maximum security prison at Camp 5 in the Guantanamo Bay
Photographs: Brennan Linsley/Reuters

Prev     Next

GITMO IN PHOTOS: A decade of American 'hell' on earth

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

In an online New York Times Op Ed called "Guantanamo Forever?", published on December 12, 2011 by retired United States Marine Corps Generals Charles C Krulak and Joseph P. Hoar, both generals said that a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 "would further extend a ban on transfers from Guantanamo, ensuring that this morally and financially expensive symbol of detainee abuse will remain open well into the future.

"Not only would this bolster Al Qaeda's recruiting efforts, it also would make it nearly impossible to transfer 88 men (of the 171 held there) who have been cleared for release," the report added.


Image: Items which are given to detainees are displayed at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay
Photographs: Reuters

Prev     Next

GITMO IN PHOTOS: A decade of American 'hell' on earth

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Both Generals concluded their assessment by saying that "We should be moving to shut Guantanamo, not extend it."

As such, even after a decade of 'torture', this American 'hell' gives no concrete signal of fading into oblivion.


Image: Leg shackles are seen on the floor at Camp 6 detention center, at the US naval base, in Guantanamo Bay
Photographs: Brennan Linsley/Reuters

Prev     Next

Check out our other top slide-shows

Prev     More

Click on MORE to see another set of PHOTO features...



Tags: PHOTO , MORE

Prev     More