Guantanamo: A history of detainee writings - I

This is a list of first-hand accounts of Guantanamo detainees, published as columns. Detainees began arriving at Guantanamo Bay sixteen years ago today.

For me it is not easy to suppress the images of Guantánamo. I am haunted by my own memories, the isolation cell, the food and sleep deprivation, the beatings, the daily humiliation and the brutality. And I keep thinking about the men I met while I was in that place.
— Murat Kurnaz,

January 11, 2018

Sharqawi al Hajj: Will I Die at Guantanamo?

Sharqawi Abdu Ali al Hajj is a Yemeni citizen. He has been detained at Guantanamo since 2004.  He is accused of being a facilitator for al Qaeda.

October 13, 2017

Khalid Qassim: I am in Guantánamo Bay. The US government is starving me to death

August 24, 2016

Khalid Qassim: Hunger striking for ‘dignity’ in Guantanamo

Qassim wrote about being on hunger strike. Qassim is a Yemeni citizen born in 1976. He was accused of being an al Qaeda fighter and captured in Afghanistan in 2001. Qassim is yet to be charged.

October 17, 2017

Ahmed Rabbani: I’m a Pakistani inmate and here’s why I am on hunger strike since 2013

Rabbani wrote about being on hunger strike. He is a Pakistani citizen of Rohingya origin. He was accused of being a member of and facilitating al Qaeda in an apparent case of mistaken identity. He is yet to be charged.

January 11, 2016

Sami al-Hajj: Remembering Guantanamo

Sami al-Hajj was a Sudanese journalist working for Al Jazeera when he was detained in Pakistan and transferred to Afghanistan, and then Guantanamo. He was released after eight years, in 2008. He wrote about his detention and imprisonment. 

December 30, 2015

Murat Kurnaz: My friend was released from Guantanamo Bay – only to be locked up again

Kurnaz is a Turkish citizen who was born in Germany in 1982. He was accused of affiliations with the Tablighi Jamaat and al Qaeda. Kurnaz was released in 2006. He wrote about Younus Chekkouri, a Moroccan detainee who was detained by Morocco after his release from Guantanamo.

In 2008, my demand for a fair legal process went all the way to America’s highest court. In a decision that bears my name, the Supreme Court declared that “the laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times.” It ruled that prisoners like me, no matter how serious the accusations, have a right to a day in court. The Supreme Court recognized a basic truth: the government makes mistakes. And the court said that because “the consequence of error may be detention of persons for the duration of hostilities that may last a generation or more, this is a risk too significant to ignore.
— Lakhdar Boumedine,

November 12, 2014

Murat Kurnaz: Former Gitmo Detainee: ‘It Is Time to Prosecute Those Responsible for My Torture

July 15, 2014

Emad Hassan: Detainees are human

Hassan is a Yemeni citizen who was detained in a raid on a suspected safe house in Faisalabad, Pakistan. He was released after thirteen years.

December 13, 2013

Shaker Aamer on why Russell Brand is banned from the Guantanamo Reading List

August 2, 2013

Shaker Aamer: Have I Lost Hope at Guantanamo?

Aamer was the last British resident to be released from Guantanamo. He spent thirteen years at Guantanamo. He wrote about his imprisonment at Guantanamo. 

April 14, 2013

Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel: Gitmo is Killing Me

He is a Yemeni citizen who was accused of being a guard for OBL. He was released in 2006.

January 18, 2012

Lakhdar BoumedineMy Guantanamo Nightmare

Boumedine spent seven years in Guantanamo. He and other detainees challenged their detention in a landmark habeas corpus case. He wrote about his detention and his life after his release.

May 6, 2011

Moazzam Begg:  A former Guantanamo detainee on the death of Osama bin Laden

Begg was a British detainee held at Guantanamo for over two years.