Moath al-Alwi, who has been a prisoner of the U.S. government and detained at the offshore prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba since 2002 without ever being charged with a crime or afforded a trial, has a simple yet urgent question for the American people and the U.S. government: Why am I still here?
“The world may turn a blind eye and find this number small. But for each of us here, the cost of our indefinite and unfair imprisonment is beyond immeasurable. Our families have lost fathers, brothers, husbands, and sons to this hell on earth. Many of us have unnecessarily lost over a decade of our already short time in this world, yearning to be free again.”
If the war in Afghanistan is now over, as he has heard President Obama and other lawmakers say many times, the Yemeni national wonders what possible reason could the U.S. have in keeping a man like himself—guilty of no crime—locked away on an island prison for nearly thirteen years.
Despite the protests of dedicated human rights and legal activists in the U.S. and around the world, the fact that the U.S. government continues to justify the “indefinite detention” of human beings for a war that has become detached from geographical boundaries and has no end date, remains one of the most glaring, yet ignored, realities of post-9/11 America.
In a strikingly personal piece that has now appeared in both Al-Jazeera English and The Nation, al-Alwi expresses his grief, anger, and frustrations. “I wonder now,” he writes, “if the U.S. follows any rule of law at all: the Geneva Conventions or even its own Constitution. Where is the freedom and justice for all that it so proudly boasts to the world?”
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Un-edited and in full, his missive to those who hold him captive follows: