With Guantanamo having all but disappeared from the national conversation this election season, the tale of Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif to remind us of its enduring and grotesque costs. Latif, a slight, sensitive Yemeni, was found dead in his cell Sept. 8. Just 20 when he was seized near the Afghan border, where he had gone to get medical care for a head injury from a car accident, he was incarcerated for 11 years in what he called "a piece of hell that kills everything." Over the long years, he was interrogated hundreds of times by guards he called "artists of torture (and) pain," force-fed during years of hunger strikes, cleared for release in 2004, 2007, 2009, and in 2010, when a judge ruled the Obama administration “take all necessary and appropriate" steps to free him, at which point was again stymied by an appeal by the DOJ that a dissenting judge called "moving the goalposts." After years of legal challenges, tormented letters and poems, and suicide attempts - slitting his wrists, eating shards of glass - Latif was found dead in his cell Sept. 8. He was 32, and had never been charged with a crime related to terrorism, or anything else. He was the ninth inmate to die at Guantanamo, where over half of those who remain have likewise been cleared for release for years.
Letter from Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif letter to his lawyer, David Remes, December 26th, 2010:
"Do whatever you wish to do, the issue is over.
I am happy to express from this darkness and draw a true picture of the condition in which I exist. I am moving towards a dark cave and a dark life in the shadow of a dark prison. This is a prison that does not know humanity, and does not know [anything] except the language of power, oppression and humiliation for whoever enters it. It does not differentiate between a criminal and the innocent, and between the right of the sick or the elderly who is weak and is unable to bear and a man who is still bearing all this from the prison administration that is evil in mercy.
Hardship is the only language that is used here. Anybody who is able to die will be able to achieve happiness for himself, he has no other hope except that. The requirement is to announce the end, and challenge the self love for life and the soul that insists to end it all and leave this life which is no longer anymore called a life, instead it itself has become death and renewable torture. Ending it is a mercy and happiness for this soul.
I will not allow any more of this and I will end it. I will send [move] it to a world that is much better than this world. There, the real life will live again that will be filled with complete happiness and be rid of all harassments. There, the environment will clear up, things will calm down and you will be able to relax and you will not see the world of evil people.
I am in need of a person who blindfolds his eyes from me [looks the other way] and leaves me in my freedom so that I can choose my end. With all my pains, I say goodbye to you and the cry of death should be enough for you.
A world power failed to safeguard peace and human rights and from saving me. I will do whatever I am able to do to rid myself of the imposed death on me at any moment of this prison."