Shadowproof

Freedom or Death at Guantánamo

by Omar Farah, staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Adnan Latif and Mohammed al-Hamiri arrived at Guantánamo through strikingly similar twists of fate. Adnan Latif is the most recent of nine men – four since President Obama took office – to die in U.S. custody at Guantánamo.

Mohammed al-Hamiri is a Yemeni prisoner I have represented and visited since 2008 who remains trapped at Guantánamo, housed at the prison’s medical clinic, fighting to stave off despair. Like all Guantánamo prisoners, he grapples daily with the haunting thought that he many never leave the island prison alive.

January 11 marked 11 years since the first of these men arrived at Guantánamo, and this week marks four years since the president’s signing an executive order mandating the closure of Guantanamo within the year. As we observe these anniversaries, I question what, if anything, the Obama administration learned from Adnan’s senseless death. For better or for worse, the answer will say a lot about what lies ahead for Mohammed.

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