Americans Should Demand Humane Treatment Of Prisoners

Kate Dunbar

Newtown, CT


Injustice exists in America. Everyday. Any place. Anytime. But the problem is that even in a country where issues of justice are brought to the attention of millions, the amount of actions being done to correct these injustices is staggeringly low. One of these examples of injustice that needs to become a priority for the American people to fix is the current situation at Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility.
​Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility located at a U.S. Naval Base in Cuba currently consists of a few camps in which the unlawful detention, torture and questioning of civilians suspected of potential terrorist crimes or plots against the U.S. have been detained. Most people do not know of these camps. While a lot of buzz was generated when these camps were first investigated under the Bush Administration, there was not enough outrage to change our government’s stance on the justification of having these camps. But the fact of the matter is that the human rights abuses occurring at these camps can no longer be ignored. Take for example the case of Mohammed al-Qahtani.
​There are a lot of documented abuses that occurred at Guantanamo. Mohammed al-Qahtani is just one prisoner who had to endure all kinds of abuses at the hands of the United States. Some examples of these abuses include: Waterboarding; Beatings; Stress positions (forcing prisoners to stand or crouch for hours); Sexual abuse (female interrogators pretending to rub menstrual blood on a chained prisoner’s face, e.g.); Torture by music (ear‐splitting music for hours on end, which has been proven to induce states of psychosis in prisoners after just a few hours); Sleep Deprivation (sometimes for weeks on end, another tactic known to induce psychosis in prisoners); Temperature extremes; Forcible beard shaving (a form of religious humiliation that was also used on religious Jews by Nazi soldiers); Prolonged isolation; Threats of rendition, and threats against prisoners’ families. This torture without any regard to Geneva Conventions standards for the treatment of prisoners has to stop. As powerless as average citizens may feel, these human rights abuses can change with citizen outrage channeled into action.
​This is where young, active citizens can make a huge difference. If more outreach is done to talk to senators, representatives and officials at the White House, making this issue come to the forefront of the American Justice System could be just around the corner. There are a lot of options at hand to keep national security protected and provide more just options to the detainees. Some of these options include military trials or at the very least modifications to the unjust conditions in the camps.
​Change can be just around the corner, if people prioritize these issues of injustice and let their voice be heard as to what kind of country they want to be living in. Injustice cannot be allowed to continue. Human rights must be protected. Please write to your representatives and urge them to stop the abuses at Guantanamo and to close this detention center. Hearings need to be held to determine what percentage of these detainees are actual enemy combatants, then have those cases investigated and those detainees reassigned to other facilities where humane treatment can be assured.


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