The best known of the prisoners is Tariq Ba Odah, on hunger strike since 2007. Even when he went to federal court last year with a demand to be released, the Obama administration fought it. Andy Worthington reports:
After more than eight years on a permanent hunger strike, he weighed just 74 pounds, and, according to medical experts and his lawyers, was at risk of death. Disgracefully, the Justice Department challenged his habeas petition, and, at the end of the year, Reuters revealed that the Pentagon had prevented representatives from an undisclosed foreign country that was prepared to offer him a new home from having access to his medical records, so that the country in question dropped its resettlement offer.
“His body appears unable to properly absorb calories or micronutrients,” his lawyer Omar Farah of the Center for Constitutional Rights said last summer.
Murtaza Hussein brings excerpts from letters of another of the released prisoners, Mohammed al-Hamiri, in Prisoner’s Letters Document Tragedy and Hope Inside Guantánamo:
I want you to understand my reality. As far as I’m concerned the government has closed its door on our cases. Unfortunately, a tragedy happened on September 11, and many innocent people were killed. Every year on that same date people relive the suffering repeatedly; yet it is also saddening that other innocent people are dying or put in jail without having committed any crime. It doesn’t make sense for someone who gets stung by a thorn in his leg to start hitting everybody around him to relieve that pain, for he could be hurting innocent people.
Are you seeing the reports that the “forever prisoners,” those not charged with any crime, but which the Obama administration is not willing to try or release, may go to the Florence CO ADX federal prison, in the high desert?
What would it mean to institutionalize detention without charge in federal prisons?