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Agony of Guantanamo prisoners

The notorious Guantanamo Bay detention center has not been closed even after 18 years. Some 40 prisoners are still languishing there. Ironically, charges if any, are not brought against them and fair trial is denied to them. Joe Biden election has revived the hope that cases of detainees shall be reviewed and justice shall be done to them, when he takes office. One of such unfortunate inmates is 73 year old Saifullah Paracha who is diabetic with heart condition. He is languishing there without being charged and fair trial provided.

As Republican administrations have never been fairly inclined to human rights, therefore President Trump ended Obama’s administration practices of reviewing the cases of men held at Guantanamo. Saifullah Paracha feels optimistic that in the incoming democrats’ administration he may get justice.

Guantanamo detention center used to be in the hostile light of mass media and was viewed a symbol of US excesses in response to terrorism. Obama administration failed to close it even though it would have required and executive order.

The detention center was set up in 2002 in President Bush administration, where 700 hundred prisoners from 50 different countries were dumped. He had announced to close it at the end of his second tenure but at the end of his second term 242 inmates were still there. President Obama released 197 prisoners, leaving 41 for President Trump. Over the years seven inmates took their lives by committing suicide and one died of cancer and one from heart attack. Setting up Guantanamo detention center and keeping prisoners there without legal access and fair trial adds a shameful chapter to the US history. No other country has ever held people in dentition without charges for 18 years. This has been done by the world sole super power, the US, which claims to be the champion of human rights and the State Department releases a beautifully worded report, accusing the countries under authoritarian rule for human rights violations.

Guantanamo is still open and successive US Presidents did not close it. President Bush did not do it. President Obama announced four times to close it but did not do it. President Trump has not done so. Forty men are still there. Twenty six are deemed to remain prisoners forever. They have never been charged, tried or convicted of any crime. They will likely die in prison, following decades of detention without charges and convictions on the basis of fair trial. Although five inmates were cleared for release by six federal agencies, yet they were not set free. Therefore atrocities perpetrated in Guantanamo detention center are one of the darkest periods in the American history. The whole truth about it will never come out.

The detention center will be remembered a symbol of torture and rendition of gross human abuses. According to Dahane Director of Security of human rights for Amnesty International, Guantanamo Bay is now branded as “symbol of Islamophobia.” It remains a stain on the human rights record of the US. Those who are cleared by the US federal agencies must be transferred to the countries of their origin. Let us hope that President Joe Bide will release the reaming prisoners from Guantanamo Bay. The comment of director security Amnesty International about the detention centers serves a lesson for the rulers and people of Islamic countries as Islamophobia is now used as weapon against them. It gives credence to the argument of conspiracy theorists that the US creates human assets for their global objectives and when they are no longer useful, label them rogue elements.

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