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 On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid