Why Close Guantánamo? A Dead Man’s Poem Speaks

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Adnan Latif guantanamo prisoner

Click above to read the full article on Adnan Latif in our 2007 magazine

Adnan Latif died at Guantánamo on Saturday, after being held over 10 years without charge—despite a judge’s order that he be released.

Latif protested his treatment with a hunger strike and poetry; these lines were cleared by government censors and serve as a tragic reminder of the urgent need to end indefinite detention and close the prison:

“Hunger Strike Poem”

They are artists of torture,
They are artists of pain and fatigue,
They are artists of insults
and humiliation.
Where is the world to save us
from torture?
Where is the world to save us
from the fire and sadness?
Where is the world to save
the hunger strikers?

What happened to Adnan Latif?

  • He was held for over 10 years without charge, even though he was reportedly recommended by U.S. officials for transfer out of Department of Defense custody in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2009.
  • He alleged that he was held in solitary confinement for the majority of his detention at Guantánamo, and that he was beaten, strangled, abused and denied medical care.
  • In 2010, a federal judge ruled that Latif’s detention was unlawful and that he should be released. But the Obama administration appealed, and Latif lost.
  • On June 11, 2012, the Supreme Court declined, without comment, to hear Latif’s appeal, and he remained held without charge, hopeless about resolution of his case.

Latif’s attorney, David Remes, said “He was so fragile, he was so tormented that it would not surprise me if he had committed suicide. However you look at it, it was Guantánamo that killed him.”

Moving forward

There was always another path available to the U.S. government for handling Adnan Latif and other detainees–and for ensuring justice for the September 11 attacks–one without the human rights violations of indefinite detention, kangaroo courts and abuse: fair trial or release.

It’s not too late for the U.S. government to change course: either charge and fairly try the Guantánamo detainees in U.S. federal court, or release them to countries that will respect their human rights.

Take action

Send a message to President Obama right now on behalf of another Guantánamo detainee held for over 10 years without charge: Shaker Aamer.

Note: Amnesty International long campaigned on Adnan Latif’s case, calling for him to be either charged and fairly tried, or released. He was to be included in Amnesty International’s global letter writing marathon this December 10th, held every year to mark Human Rights Day. Email writeathon@aiusa.org for more information about how you can take part in this important event and help end human rights violations in the U.S. and around the world.

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21 thoughts on “Why Close Guantánamo? A Dead Man’s Poem Speaks

  1. This doesn't indicate why/ how he ended up there, this only provokes, why was he there? He clearly had a connection to SOMETHING/SOMEONE that is not in the UNITED STATES best interest…be aware of your surroundings…
    He was fragile? Bummer…. After 911… The US lives in fear and im tried of it…

  2. I don't agree with some of the comments there is well documented evidence that prisoners have been held in prisons without reasonable cause shame on the US Government may this young man RIP in Heaven

  3. the term "torture" is used for anything of discomfort from the Star spangled Banner in the mornings, the red ,white and blue label on the water bottles, the pattern of the butter patty when its formed and accidently has a cross or plus sign on it…the media never uses recent photos, just the 11 yr old ones where it looks like they're still in dog kennels..(and they WERe while they built the confines).why Gitmo? they had to put them somewhere to sort 'em out, to see who was ood or bad, were people falsely accused? maybe, but we needed a place to sort 'em out!1 your state? how about YOur state…NOone wants them in their state and american prisoners would love to get their hands on them, if you are only fed one view..the lib view OR the conserve view…you're gonna believe that view…no one wants to keep an open mind, no medical? Baloney, tormented? nope… unless he had his own demons….lots of armchair quarterbacking by thems that have no concept, except what fed them! It's easy to promise to close gitmo, till you go in and read the paperwork, they let the "Proffessor" go…and he became No. 2 man,till last week..oh well…72 more virgins and I'm wondering…WHILE they're World saving…when is amnesty international gonna start doing something about clitorectomies to young women, acid baths for unescorted and unveiled women, beheadings for dancing or being gay, lashings and stonings for women with headresses…I could go on

  4. Perhaps trials are being avoided because of the trail leading to scoundrels of the previous administration that still manage to exert fear and control. The outrage has to come from us citizens so that the administration can move with support. People are too quiet or perhaps too few care ; that adds to the tragedy.

  5. How can the US continue to present themselves as the good guys? What's that word they always flash around – democracy ??

  6. Well, guess eeveryone should know there's more money in the business if fear is kept and nurtured. Arms, chemicals, protection (gear, guards) . In order to protect the US, some found it acceptable to skip the most basic rules that the US originally was funded upon. Right and justice for all. Made your own system into your own worst enemy. Which again will increase the no. Of enemies of the US (unlawfully imprisoned persons do have families…), not a good "solution". But I'm only a Norwegian… ?