News / USA

Guantanamo’s 10th Anniversary Marked by Protests

Meredith Buel

A coalition of human rights groups is marking the 10th anniversary of the first detainees being jailed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba by demonstrating in front of the White House and calling on President Barack Obama to close the controversial facility. 

Hundreds of demonstrators marched in a cold rain along Pennsylvania Avenue.

They were led by protesters in black hoods and orange jump suits, representing the 171 detainees still held at the Guantanamo Bay detention center.

Tom Parker, with Amnesty International, said “Guantanamo has been open 10 years too long. It is not keeping anybody safe. It is only open really now because of domestic politics.  It serves no real useful purpose. It is a stain on America’s reputation.”

Of the nearly 780 detainees brought to Guantanamo over the past decade, about 600 have been released.

Opponents of the facility say the vast majority of the remaining prisoners are not a national security threat to the United States.

Protester Dan Burgevin has been living shackled, in a cage, across from the White House.

“We continue this abominable program that jails people with no charge and keeps them away from their families and people that they love," siad Burgevin. "I mean we just have to ask ourselves as Americans, would we want to be treated that way?”

Ten years ago, and just months after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, the first detainees were flown into Guantanamo.

Images of shackled prisoners in orange jumpsuits captured in the War on Terror led to human rights groups questioning the interrogation techniques being used there.

Some analysts that support Guantanamo refer to those held there as “hybrid warriors” and say detention of the enemy during wartime is part of a broader effort to win the conflict.

Heritage Foundation senior legal fellow Cully Stimson:

“You detain people not to punish them," said Stimson. "You detain people lawfully under the law of armed conflict to prevent them from taking up arms against you. You don’t want to rearm the enemy while you are trying to defeat the enemy.”

Still, former detainees say their time spent in Guantanamo represents a dark page in the modern history of humanity.

Moazzam Begg spent two years in Guantanamo. “And this is an anniversary of tragedy, of pain, of torment, of families ripped apart," said Begg.

President Barack Obama promised to close the Guantanamo detention center, but Congress has blocked efforts to move the prisoners.

The political situation has been difficult, according to Congressman Jim Moran.

“And the political reality is that, unless the American people become better educated about this and far more forceful in terms of caring about it within the context of the democratic process, it’s not going to change," said Moran.

Now, 10 years after the first terrorism suspects were sent to Guantanamo, protests continue.

There is no sign the detention center will close anytime soon.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid