So much for “land of the free and home of the brave” – today marks the 10th anniversary of the first detainees showing up at the Guantanamo Bay military detention facility. Here are just a few sobering statistics, courtesy of Think Progress:
- 779 detainees incarcerated at Guantánamo Bay since 2002
- 171 detainees still held at Guantánamo Bay
- 89 detainees still held after being cleared for release
- 6 detainees convicted by military commissions
- 6 detainees currently charged by military commission prosecutor
- 92 percent of prisoners were never al Qaeda fighters according to the U.S. government
- 86 percent of detainees were turned over after payment of a bounty
- 0 detainees released in the past year
(For more information, check out this terrific infographic by the ACLU.)
Over the weekend, The New York Times had a heartbreaking article over the weekend by Lakhdar Boumediene, a former Guantanamo prisoner held for seven years without being charged, that detailed his experiences in the prison.
Frighteningly, that kind of incarceration may become more prevalent in the future, due to a little-noticed provision tucked in the recently passed National Defense Act Authorization bill, which gives the government permission to indefinitely detain American citizens without trial. As two retired four-star Marine generals recently wrote in the NYT: “this provision would expand the battlefield to include the United States — and hand Osama bin Laden an unearned victory long after his well-earned demise.”
So a very unhappy birthday to you, Guantanamo. Hopefully, you won’t fill up with American citizens over the next ten years.