US can’t ignore outrage over Guantanamo gulag
By The New Indian Express | Published: 17th September 2012 12:11 AM |
Even as the US faces an upsurge of protests in the Islamic world because of a controversial film produced in America, it must be aware of the silent growth of outrage among people of all faiths about the continuing violation of civil liberties represented by the prison at Guantanamo Bay, where the suspected Islamic terrorists are kept. Although the expectation before Barack Obama’s assumption of office was that he would shut it down after becoming the president, he shied away from any such step for two apparent reasons.
One was that he would not like to face the charge of being soft from his political opponents. The other was that a closure of the notorious jail, which is in Cuba, would entail the transfer of the inmates to America where the country’s liberal legal provisions would come into play. It was better, therefore, to keep the prisoners in a land where human rights are not the primary concern of the ruling communists.
However, what the US does not seem to have taken into account is the worldwide indignation that may be caused not only by the indefinite detention of a group, of which a majority have not been charged with any offence, but also by the deaths of some of them while awaiting trial. This element of an ultimate denial of justice has been brought to the fore by the recent death of Adnan Latif, a Yemeni, who was one of the first to be sent to the detention centre. Latif, who was never legally arraigned, was the ninth detenue to die, literally in chains. According to the US military, five of them committed suicide while the others died of natural causes although it is doubtful whether the term can be used for a death in abnormal circumstances. Since out of the 167 prisoners, only six have been charged, Guantanamo can be said to have replicated in its brutal violation of the rule of law the infamous Gulag of the former Soviet Union.