For Immediate Release
Justice Denied: Voices From Guantánamo
Released Detainees Talk About Torture and Re-Entry Into Life in New ACLU Video
NEW YORK - Most
Americans have only seen Guantánamo detainees as one-dimensional
caricatures. But a new American Civil Liberties Union video shows the
full range of their lives before, during and after their captivity. The
video, "Justice Denied: Voices from Guantánamo,"
is part of an ACLU initiative against the practice of detention without
due process that violates fundamental principles of American justice.
Despite plans to close Guantánamo, the Obama administration has
continued this unconstitutional practice.
The five men featured in the video
were all held at Guantánamo for years without any meaningful
opportunity to challenge their detention. They were denied their due
process rights, which might have established the lack of evidence
against them much earlier and spared them years of torture, abuse and
imprisonment. The men were eventually released, and as they explain in
the video, are now attempting to put their lives back together.
"I experienced sadness in a state
that I have never had, cruelty in a depth that I'd never seen in my
life," Omar Deghayes tells the camera. He had graduated from law school
in England and was studying the legal system in Afghanistan when he was
captured and sent to Guantánamo for nearly six years. "You will not
leave a similar person anymore. You will leave as broken, physically
broken, psychologically broken."
Ruhal Ahmed and Shafiq Rasul grew up
together in England. They went to Pakistan for a friend's wedding and
took a short trip to neighboring Afghanistan where they were captured.
It would be two and a half years before they could go home.
"Guantánamo Bay was hell for us,"
Shafiq says. But Ruhal says their friendship helped them survive the
brutal experience: "Anything that happened to me I could relate to
somebody that was very close to me. Being friends from a young age -
who else would you want in that kind of situation?"
Back home in England, Shafiq and
Ruhal say the American leaders who allowed the injustices of Guantánamo
should be held accountable. But they do not hold a grudge against the
"The drinks we drink, Coca Cola -
it's American. We still drink it," Ruhal says. "We still go to the
movies. So we don't hate Americans as American people."
Omar says he feels the same way, but
he wants Americans to know exactly what happened at Guantánamo: "I want
the people themselves, the people in America, the good people - which I
met many of - to realize what ugly things were done to others in their
The new ACLU video, "Justice Denied: Voices From Guantánamo," can be viewed online at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=vm-
For more information on the ACLU's efforts to fight indefinite detention without charge or trial, see: www.aclu.org
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.