‘Tortured’ Guantanamo Bay prisoner seeks release of secret videos
A new lawsuit seeks to force the U.S. government to make public “extremely disturbing” videotapes of a Saudi national whose abuse at the Guantanamo Bay prison has been called “torture” by a former Bush administration official.
The suit, filed in New York federal court on Monday, comes 10 years after the first prisoners in the United States’ global war on terror arrived at the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba. The prison, within a U.S. Navy base, was considered by Bush administration lawyers outside the jurisdiction of U.S. courts.
The controversial prison was ordered closed within a year by President Barack Obama when he took office, but stiff resistance in Congress over housing detainees in the United States and trying them in civilian courts has left most of 171 detainees in limbo as the base remains open.
Indeed, 46 of the detainees held at Guantanamo Bay have been designated as too dangerous to be released at all by the Obama administration and have been assigned for indefinite detention without charges or trial. Through the years, 779 detainees have been incarcerated there with Bush releasing more than 500 and Obama 67.
“Sadly, Guantanamo is becoming a fixture,” Baher Azmy, legal director for the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has helped defend detainees, told msnbc.com. “We come to think that during wartime that there are these blips of decreased civil liberties, but eventually we restore ourselves to normalcy. That dynamic 10 years on is not happening now. …The president who so eloquently criticized it has accepted its existence.”
The Obama administration disputes that characterization. A State Department spokesman told NBC News that it has made clear that closing Guantanamo is in the interest of national security and is continuing its efforts to close the facility.