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
Where is the world to save us
Where is the world to save us
from the fire and sadness?
Where is the world to save
the hunger strikers?
Terry Rockefeller (left) with her sister Laura. Photo courtesy of September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows and Terry Rockefeller.
It has now been eleven years since the September 11 attacks. I still think about that morning every day. I could see the Towers from my living room, and from my walk to the subway. In my mind, I see the first Tower on fire. I see the second fall.
I think about all the people who lost their lives, all the survivors and all those who lost loved ones. Will their rights to justice, truth and redress ever be fulfilled?
I also think about all those who have suffered from the U.S. government’s response to the attacks. Will indefinite detention, unlawful drone killings and impunity for torture ever end?
Just one week after a global Twitter campaign by Amnesty International, Palestinian Waleed Hanatsheh walked free from an Israeli prison. Israeli officials had jailed him without charge or trial for periods totaling some 5 years of his life. But after facing the public spotlight, those same Israeli officials let Hanatsheh go home.
In this online campaign, Amnesty International members and staff targeted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (@IsraeliPM), the Israeli Defense Forces (@IDFSpokesperson), and the Israeli Embassy in Washington DC (@IsraelinUSA):
Since the 1960s, Amnesty International members have been using whatever form of communication it takes to reach governments, politicians, corporations and other targets. From mailing letters to prison cells (yes, we still do this!) to taking our demands in person to embassies, Amnesty International members have helped release tens of thousands of prisoners over the years.
The Internet has become more important to our advocacy in recent years, but does it actually work? Can electronic messages impact governmental policies or help free prisoners in far flung countries?
I’ll be at Guantánamo this week to observe military commission proceedings in a case relating to the September 11 attacks. (When possible, I’ll share my thoughts from Guantánamo on the blog and on Twitter @ZekeJohnsonAi.) The case is resuming over three years after President Obama ordered the prison closed in one year.
All of the detainees at Guantánamo should already long ago have either been charged and tried fairly in civilian court, or been released to countries that would respect their human rights.
More than three years after the end of Sri Lanka’s brutal civil war, security laws enacted to combat armed opposition groups continue to be used against outspoken, peaceful critics, including journalists, and others.
No one has been held accountable for these crimes. Impunity for human rights violations is the norm in Sri Lanka.
16-year-old Abdulrahman Al-Aulaqi was one of three U.S. citizens killed by U.S. drone strikes in Yemen last year. Abdulrahman was eating at a restaurant with his teenage cousin when they and 5 others were torn to shreds. Abdulrahman was not accused of any crime.
This video about Abdulrahman, including photos of him as a young child and an interview with his grandfather, is hard to watch. But it tells the human story of drone killing in a way words can’t.
Pakistani tribesmen carry the coffin of a person allegedly killed in a US drone attack. (Photo AFP/Getty Images)
It can be tough to follow all of the developments on drones, Guantanamo and torture, as these issues are constantly evolving though government policy-making and public debate.
So here’s a quick round up of important news you should know, along with links to take action and make your voice heard. While drones, Guantanamo and torture can seem distant from your regular life, these issues affect all of us, because they undermine the rule of law and the human rights framework, both here at home and around the world, making us all less safe.
1) Debate is swirling about whether drone operators killing people in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere by remote control from the U.S. should be awarded medals. Mark Mazzetti of the New York Times wrote the initial article and Gabor Rona of Human Rights First added his thoughts. If you want to skip the debate and urge the government to end unlawful killing with drones, take this action.
June 26th is the International Day in Support of the Victims of Torture and Amnesty International has launched a powerful new online video – “Hooded” – to mark the occasion.
Hooding is a practice that gets to the heart of the relationship between the torturer and his – or her – victim. The hooded victim is dehumanized – hooding deprives the victim of a face, of an identity – and dehumanization is almost always a precursor of abuse.
The anthropologists Ashley Montagu and Floyd Matson famously labeled dehumanization “the fifth horseman of the apocalypse”, an essential precursor to war, rape, pillage and genocide.
Hooding is disorientating. It is designed to restrict the victim’s ability to defend himself – or herself – from harm. It is also calculated to instill fear, a dread of the unknown, of the dark.
Pakistani tribesmen protest US drone attacks in the Pakistani tribal region on February 25, 2012. (AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images)
In the past month opposition to CIA drone strikes has started to gather pace as lawmakers in the US have finally started to look more critically at the program.
On Tuesday twenty-six House Representatives – including Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Ron Paul (R-TX), John Conyers (D-MI) and Michael Honda (D-CA) – wrote a bipartisan letter to the White House expressing concern about the use of ‘signature strikes’, and the legal basis under which they are conducted, telling the President:
“The use of such ‘signature’ strikes could raise the risk of killing innocent civilians or individuals who may have no relationship to attacks on the United States.”
He was arrested in 2011 for alleged domestic violence incident where he was accused of choking of wife. He was then released from custody mainly because the Indian government could not be bothered to seek his extradition despite being wanted for murder charges in Jammu and Kashmir.
The head of the Kashmir Commission of Jurists, Jalil Andrabi was killed at the height of protests in Kashmir against Indian rule in the disputed region. Andrabi disappeared in March 1996 in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu & Kashmir. His body was recovered 19 days later in the Jhelum River. He had been shot in the head, and his eyes were gouged out.
A police investigation blamed Maj. Singh and his men for that killing and also accused Maj. Singh of involvement in the killings of six other Kashmiri men.