By Almerindo E. Ojeda of The Guantánamo Testimonials Project
The Guantanamo detention facility at sunrise, January 7, 2011.
A couple of months ago, the transparency organization Wikileaks began to release Detainee Assessment Briefs and other classified documents for all 779 Guantánamo prisoners.
As a consequence of these wikileaked releases, military documents now in the public domain acknowledge that fifteen children were imprisoned, at some time or another, at Guantánamo.
This would be three more than the twelve the State Department acknowledged to the public after the earlier report on the subject put out by the Guantánamo Testimonials Project, and seven more than the eight the State Department reported to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
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Go to www.livestream.com/amnestywest at 7:30PM Pacific time on Wednesday, January 26th to watch a live panel discussion with former Guantanamo detainee Omar Deghayes, Candace Gorman, whose work has included representing two Guantánamo detainees, and Professor Almerindo Ojeda from the UC Davis Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas, which hosts the Guantánamo Testimonials Project.
Omar Deghayes. Photograph: Stefan Wermuth/REUTERS
Mr. Deghayes, who was partially blinded at Guantánamo, will join the panel by video link from the UK, where he lives with his family; he is not allowed in the U.S. despite never having been charged, let alone convicted, of a crime. His story of surving 5 years of detention without charge at Guantánamo is a moving illustration of the need to close the facility and ensure that detainees are either charged and fairly tried in federal court or released.
The panel discussion will be held at the University of California Berkeley on Wednesday, January 26th from 7:30pm – 9:00pm Pacific time at 2050 Valley Life Sciences Building. It is free and open to the public. Again, you can watch the panel live online at www.livestream.com/amnestywest
To take action against indefinite detention right now, go to www.amnestyusa.org/aamer, where you can urge the US government to either charge or release Shaker Aamer, a former UK resident whom the UK government wants returned.
The panel is co-sponsored by the UC Berkeley Human Rights Center, Health Professionals Against Torture, Survivors International, United Nations Association USA East Bay Chapter, Boalt Hall International Human Rights Clinic, Boalt Hall Committee for Human Rights, Amnesty International UC Berkeley Student Chapter and the Boalt Alliance Against Torture.