ACTION ALERT: Close Down Guantanamo

June 4th, 2008 - by admin

– 2008-06-04 22:49:27

Why is Guantánamo Bay Still Open?
Njambi Good, Campaign Director
Amnesty International’s Denounce Torture Campaign

You have to wonder when even U.S. Secretary Condoleeza Rice says,
“We will be delighted when we can close down Guantánamo. Everybody wants to close down Guantánamo.”

Momentum is building to close the prisons there. Detainees must be charged with crimes and given fair trials, or released.

Just four weeks ago, we launched the Guantánamo cell tour, and brought a life sized replica of a Guantánamo prison cell to Miami and Philadelphia. Since last fall, over 130,000 individuals have signed Amnesty International’s petition to end U.S. illegal detentions.

Build on this momentum. Apply to lead a delegation before Congress urging for the closure of Guantánamo Bay.

Meeting dates are between June 30th and July 3rd. As a delegation leader, you can schedule the meeting to take place any day between these dates. You can meet your member of Congress in your local district office or in DC.

Leading a delegation is a lot easier than it sounds. We’ll train you, give you talking points, and answer all your questions. You’ll meet other passionate Amnesty International supporters. Best of all, you’ll be exercising one of the most powerful tools available to defend human rights.

Republicans and Democrats, military interrogators and soldiers, leaders of countries from around the world have spoken out against the detention camps at Guantánamo. Now it’s up to you to be a catalyst for change.

Apply today to lead a delegation before Congress protesting Guantánamo Bay.

Thanks for your support,


P.S. Even if your member of Congress has come out in favor of Guantánamo Bay, it’s important to hold them accountable for their position. And if your member of Congress has spoken out against Guantánamo, take some time to thank them in person. Apply today.

Guantánamo Fact Sheet

• 6.5 x 8 feet — approximate size of cell in Guantánamo
• 2190 — number of days that the longest held detainees have been at Guantánamo Bay without charge or trial as of January 11, 2008
• 275 — approximate number of people in custody at Guantánamo Bay as of December 28, 2007. (1)
• 145- number of members of the House of Representatives who signed a letter to President Bush in June 2007 urging him to close Guantánamo and move the detainees to military prisons in the United States (2)
• 15 — number of “high value detainees” held at Guantánamo (3)
• 13 — age of Mohammed Ismail Agha when taken into US custody in Afghanistan in late 2002 before later being transferred to Guantánamo (4)
• 10 — number of people in Guantánamo who have ever been charged with any crime
• 3- number of pending cases (5)
• 2 — cases thrown out by a Military Judge (6)
• 1 — prisoner conviction by guilty plea (7)

Attempted Suicide (8)
• 350 — incidents of self-harm in Guantánamo Bay in 2003
• 120 — incidents were “hanging gestures” in 2003
• 110 — incidents of harm/suicide were reported for 2005
• 41 — number of prisoners whose self-harm incidents were labeled “attempted suicide” by the US since January 2002(9)
• 23 — number of prisoners that tried to hang or strangle themselves in August 2003
• 21– number of the 23 prisoners whose attempts were written off as “attention-getting” gestures
• 2 — number of the 23 prisoners classified as attempting suicide.
• 4 — number of prisoners who died in detention of apparent suicides at Guantánamo Bay (10)

Detained without Adequate Proof (11)
• 53% — percent of detainees not determined to have committed any hostile acts against the United States (12)
• 40% — percent of detainees who have no definitive connection with Al Qaeda
• 18% — percent of detainees who have no definitive connection with Al Qaeda or Taliban
• 8% — percent of detainees characterized as Al Qaeda fighters

Bought Detainees (13)
At the time when the United States offered large bounties for capture of suspected enemies:
• 86% — detainees were not detained on the battle field but were instead arrested by either Pakistan or the Northern Alliance and turned over to United States custody
• 66% — detainees were captured by Pakistani authorities
• 20% — detainees were captured by the Northern Alliance/Afghan authorities
• 8% — detainees were captured by the US authorities
• 3% — detainees were captured by other coalition forces

Habeas Corpus (14)
• Roughly 300- number of habeas corpus petitions filed in federal courts on behalf of detainees
• January 2002- month of first habeas corpus petition filed to challenge detention at Guantánamo

Cost (15)
• About $54 million- cost of building Guantánamo high- security detention facilities
• $90 million to $118- estimated annual cost of operating Guantánamo
• $10-12 million- cost of “expeditionary legal complex” for the military commission (under construction)
• Number of bills in Congress calling for the closing of Guantánamo: 3

(1) “Detainee Transfer Announced,”
(2) Bowker, David, and David Kaye. “Guantanamo by the Numbers,” The New York Times, 12 November 2007.
(3) “Administrative Tribunals to Begin for High-Value Guantanamo Detainees,” Defenselink, 6 March 2007.
(4) Constable, Pamela, “An Afghan Boy’s Life in US Custody,” The Washington Post, 12 February 2004.¬Found=true
(5) New York Times. Supra note 2.
(6) “Guantanamo pair’s charges dropped,” BBC News, 5 June 2007.
(7) “Guilty plea from detainee Hicks,” BBC News, 27 March 2007.
(8) New York Times. Supra note 1.
(9) New York Times. Supra note 1.
(10) “Guantanamo ‘suicide’ inmate named” BBC News, June 1, 2007.
(11)Results based on CSRT report data extracted by Seton Hall University study.
(12) New York Times. Supra note 2
(13) Results based on CSRT report data extracted by Seton Hall University study.
(14) New York Times. Supra note 2
(15) Ibid.

Why focus on Guantánamo Bay?

• Because the U.S. administration chose Guantánamo as the location for this detention facility in an attempt to hold detainees beyond the reach of U.S. and international law.
• Because Guantánamo has become the most visible symbol of U.S. human rights abuses in the name of the “war on terror.”
• Because five years of lawlessness is too long.
• Because Guantánamo must be closed.

Our central message is the totality of the detention regime in Guantánamo — harsh, indefinite and isolating which amounts to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and is in violation of international law. All those who remain in detention must either be charged with a crime and given a fair trial or released unconditionally.