To the Editor: (of the Greenfield, MA paper: The Recorder)
I write to remind readers that 166 Muslim men are still at Guantanamo Prison in Cuba, some for its full 11 years of operation. In case you believe that they are “the worst of the worst” as the Bush administration claimed, you should know that over 600 men have already been released for lack of evidence, and more than half of these remaining have been cleared for release by the Bush and/or Obama administrations. However, they remain locked up, without ever seeing their families or friends, because our Congress will not allow them to come to American soil for any reason, and other countries are not willing to take on responsibility for a problem we have caused.
Ali Hussein al-Shaaban from Syria, now 30, was arrested in Afghanistan in 2002 and has been in Guantanamo for 10½ years. He was cleared for release years ago. He is still alive, but one of his jailmates, Adnan Latif from Yemen, was found dead in his cell last September. He too had been cleared for release -- 4 times -- by both administrations. He had tried to commit suicide many times and told his lawyer that he had no hope. His death is under investigation, but I think it is correct to say that detention at Guantanamo killed him.
Indefinite detention of U.S. citizens was signed into U.S. law last December by the National Defense Authorization Act. I think it is cruel and inhumane treatment. We are becoming a nation of jailers.
Sherrill Hogen, Conway, MA
Sherrill is a member of Witness Against Torture and just completed a week-long fast at the annual vigil in Washington to close Guantanamo and end indefinite detention. She has a blog: www.newsfromsherrill.blogspot.com