U.S. Obligation to Freed Gitmo Detainees

(Originally posted on Daily Kos)

Four Uighur former Guantanamo inmates are now in Bermuda, other detainees have been released to France, Chad, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Hungary, Italy and Palau appear to have joined the ranks of countries prepared to accept detainees cleared for release. The pace of releases finally seems to be picking up and that is a cause for optimism.

But, while groups like Amnesty are pleased to see these individuals finally released from wrongful detention, we are disturbed that there has been no public announcement that any of these individuals will receive compensation for their ill-treatment or any assistance from the United States in rebuilding their lives or coming to terms with their experiences.

Many of you reading this blog may feel that this is a side issue but it is not. International law requires the U.S. to provide remedy to those who have been wrongfully imprisoned.

Consider for a moment what the men recently released have lost. They have lost seven years of their lives. Quite apart from the personal deprivation of liberty that is also seven years of lost earning potential – one fifth of a working life. Their families too have been without their primary breadwinner all this time.

Furthermore, what kind of future do they have to look forward to? They certainly haven’t had the opportunity to learn or develop a trade while in detention, nor are many of them returning to a society they know well. Some may not even speak the local language. However idyllic Bermuda may appear in press photographs, it is a world away from the Central Asian steppe the Uighurs are used to.

Some released inmates may be grappling with medical or mental health problems. Defense attorney, Jeffrey Colman, a thirty-five year veteran of the criminal justice system who has represented four GITMO inmates this week described the facility as:

“Unlike any other institution… there is a level of hopelessness unlike anything I have ever seen.”

We know 5 inmates have committed suicide since the camp opened and in March this year the Department of Defense reported that 34 inmates were on hunger strike. Such figures give some insight into the harrowing nature of the detainees’ experiences – yet no provision has been made to support their rehabilitation.

Closing Guantanamo is not in and of itself enough. We have a moral and legal obligation to aid the reintegration of former inmates back into society. These men have been convicted of no crime. In our system that means they are innocent. No ifs or buts.

Innocent men wrongly held for seven years have a right to compensation. The Obama administration can’t simply shove them out the gates of Camp Delta and forget about them. The United States must take responsibility for rebuilding lives it has ruined.

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6 thoughts on “U.S. Obligation to Freed Gitmo Detainees

  1. Pass the hat fundraiser A.I.

    Open your wallet and your checkbooks.

    You guys are hillarious. Just raise taxes on the rich and add it to our trillions of dollars of debt that your children and children's children will pay so that released terrorists can be compensated. How much $$$ do you think should be forked over for each detainee? Can the U.S.A. deduct rent, food, health care and comfort items and other fees for services provided BEFORE they get paid?Just curious.

    Good luck U.S.A. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$

  2. Pass the hat fundraiser A.I.

    Open your wallet and your checkbooks.

    You guys are hillarious. Just raise taxes on the rich and add it to our trillions of dollars of debt that your children and children’s children will pay so that released terrorists can be compensated. How much $$$ do you think should be forked over for each detainee? Can the U.S.A. deduct rent, food, health care and comfort items and other fees for services provided BEFORE they get paid?Just curious.

    Good luck U.S.A. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$

  3. Dear Tom, no, i don't think compensation is a SIDE issue.

    It is a SQUARELY CENTRAL one which all transgressors must ever address for that which they take unjustly from the helpless. It's just a matter of time that they do, but time will only add to the Interest that will be exacted of them. Thank you for bringing this to timely notice. So many lives destroyed, & here is only a little something which can actually be done in recompense. Some balance can thus be partially restored.

  4. Dear Tom, no, i don’t think compensation is a SIDE issue.

    It is a SQUARELY CENTRAL one which all transgressors must ever address for that which they take unjustly from the helpless. It’s just a matter of time that they do, but time will only add to the Interest that will be exacted of them. Thank you for bringing this to timely notice. So many lives destroyed, & here is only a little something which can actually be done in recompense. Some balance can thus be partially restored.

  5. Are you insane?!?!?! You're HAPPY these slime got released?!?!? And then, on top of that, we should give them money?!?!? Hardee har har har!

    You folks need a good shot of reality. These slimeballs would slit your daughters throat then rape her headless corpse while you watch in horror. And you want them RELEASED?!?!?!

    Wake up folks. It's nice to WANT a civilized society in which we all live in peace and harmony … but reality is a LONG way from that.

  6. Are you insane?!?!?! You’re HAPPY these slime got released?!?!? And then, on top of that, we should give them money?!?!? Hardee har har har!

    You folks need a good shot of reality. These slimeballs would slit your daughters throat then rape her headless corpse while you watch in horror. And you want them RELEASED?!?!?!

    Wake up folks. It’s nice to WANT a civilized society in which we all live in peace and harmony … but reality is a LONG way from that.