Target: President Barack Obama
Goal: Applaud the release of six prisoners from Guantanamo Bay
Six men have been released in one month from US detention facility Guantanamo Bay. Noor Uthman Muhammed and Ibrahim Idris are the latest releases, while Djamel Saiid Ali Ameziane, Bensayah Belkacem, Said Muhammad Husyan Qahtani, and Hamoud Abdullah Hamoud Hassan al Wady were released earlier.
Qahtani and al Wady, never charged with any crimes, have both been incarcerated since 2002 despite being cleared for release in 2009. Ameziane and Belkacem, both Algerian, have also been detained without charge since 2002. In 2011, Muhammed pleaded guilty to war crimes in exchange for a release which came two years later. Idris, obese and mentally ill, was deemed too unwell to pose a threat to the United States.
During their imprisonment, some of these men were subject to “enhanced interrogation” methods, aggressive tactics that are considered torture by international law. This includes water-boarding, where a cloth is placed over the face and water poured on top. This induces dry drowning, causing brain and lung damage or injury from straining against restraints.
They have suffered poor health during numerous nearly prison-wide hunger strikes and degrading conditions at the hands of their captors, resulting in ongoing mental and physical distress.
Currently, 158 detainees remain in the offshore prison, many without charge and in similar conditions. Not since 2009 have six detainees been released in the same month, a beacon of hope for the men left. Though President Obama still has a long way to go to fulfill his promise of closing the facility, a big step was taken in December. Your signature will applaud the release of six prisoners in a month and encourage a continued fervor for further progress.
Dear President Barack Obama,
In December 2013, six detainees were released from Guantanamo Bay, the most in a single month since 2009. Many of these men have been incarcerated for over ten years without charge, cleared for release years ago. Some were in poor physical health due to preexisting conditions, while others were weakened by hunger strikes. All were long overdue to return home.
There is much work ahead to release the remaining 158 prisoners and close the facility for good, yet a renewed zeal has become apparent. I ask that releases are continued at this brisk pace in the interest of reaching the final goal of closing Guantanamo Bay.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Shane T. McCoy, U.S. Navy via Wikimedia Commons