When, in his annual speech in the US Congress, Donald Trump announced his decision to let the Guantanamo Prison continue its activities, he showed that the American human rights will continue to exist!…
In the name of Allah
The concept of human rights has always been a popular topic for human beings. Such popularity and influence has led to some countries, mostly the US, misusing and exploiting this term in the media and international relations. The following Op-Ed, published by Khamenei.ir, looks at the US’s Guantanamo Prison from a human rights perspective.
When, in his annual speech in the US Congress, Donald Trump announced his decision to let the Guantanamo Prison continue its activities, he showed that the American human rights will continue to exist!
Guantanamo is the name of a terrifying prison located at Guantanamo Bay in southeastern Cuba which belongs to the US Navy. Since 1903, following a contract between the US and Cuba, the US navy base was entrusted to the Americans. However, after the Cuban Revolution in 1959, the revolutionary government of Cuba demanded that the contract be rescinded and the American navy base be closed down, but the US government did not agree. Since then, every year, Washington sends a cheque to the Cuban government, but the Cubans refuse to cash it.
Following the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, the US government created a fearsome prison in Guantanamo Bay Navy Base under the presidency of George W. Bush to imprison those who are arrested in different parts of the world for terrorist actions. The United States described the Guantanamo prisoners as “enemy combatants”. In the legal system of the United States, this term refers to individuals who take up arms against the United States’ interests without their country being officially at war with the US. Because such individuals do not have US citizenship and because they are not inside the US jurisdiction zone, they do not enjoy the rights that other detainees do in the US. In other words, they do not benefit from an explanation of their charges, they do not have access to a lawyer and the usual investigation procedures are not observed in their case. Although they are foreigners and do not have American citizenship, they do not have the rights given to prisoners of war. For such individuals, any kind of torture is condoned. Moreover, they cannot meet and correspond with their family members, they are not given good food in any way and they are deprived of any human rights privilege.
Although the news on Guantanamo is heavily censored, the statements made by some of those who have been released show the hard conditions there and a clear violation of human rights in that prison. For instance, Nizar Sassi, a former Guantanamo prisoner, has stated in an interview that the American jailors had made them take off their clothes and then raped them in front of everyone. At that time he had no idea as to why they had been treated in that way. However, later on he realized “humiliation” as the only possible reason. He added that forgetting those bitter, hideous, and troubling incidents were very difficult and even impossible[i].
These statements indicate that after being released, Guantanamo prisoners only find peace in carrying out suicidal attacks against American forces and in fact, the Guantanamo Prison provides individuals with the motive to increase terrorist attacks. Mark Fallon, a former US investigator, mentions that not only is torture a poor means to gain military information, but it also increases violence and the chances of future attacks against the US[ii].
On January 22, Barak Obama, the former US president, issued an order to close down the Guantanamo Prison and other secret prisons set up by the CIA, doing so in his second day in office, but his order was never executed and that fearsome prison continued to work.
On March 14, 2009, the United States Department of Justice stated that since then, the United States would not use the term “Enemy Combatant” to refer to suspects accused of terrorist operations. On the basis of that order, the prisoners held in the Guantanamo prison, accused of participating in terrorist attacks, should have benefited from international prisoners’ rights, but that law remained on paper too and it was never implemented.
On January 30, 2018, not only did Donald Trump announce his decision to let the Guantanamo Prison continue to work, but it also reiterated that torture is an efficient tool to gain information from prisoners. In response to those statements, Alberto Mura, a former US Navy Commander, described Trump’s statements as impractical, resulting from inexperience and lack of political insight[iii].
The forced and illegal lease on the Guantanamo Island, which is under the sovereignty of the Cuban government and which is part of the territorial integrity of that country, and the activities done in the fearsome Guantanamo Prison, as well as the tortures carried out in that prison, are clear manifestations of the violation of international laws and in particular, of human rights.