Unwarranted and Inexcusable Agony


Opened in 2002 by the United States military as part of the Global War on Terror, the Guantánamo Bay detention center (a.k.a. Gitmo) in Cuba holds suspected “terrorists” from countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia for detainment and interrogation. During its 11 years of existence, the prison has violated international human rights laws by holding prisoners without giving charges or rights to trials and subjecting them to severe conditions, including indefinite detention, prolonged solitary confinement, physical violence, and psychological abuse.



Most Gitmo detainees were imprisoned with no legal basis and have never been charged with a crime, but were arbitrarily taken from their homes and turned in to the U.S. government after 9/11 by opportunists and/or disgruntled neighbors that received bounties of $2,000-$5,000 for pointing a finger at a neighbor, a foreigner, an enemy. However, 92 percent were never connected to Al-Qaeda or the Taliban, and only 7 terrorists have been convicted by military commissions at Gitmo.



779 prisoners total have suffered the unimaginably brutal treatment of Guantánamo, and 166 currently remain. Despite the prison’s ineffectiveness and inefficiency (costing U.S. taxpayers about $2.74 million per detainee, compared with $78,000 per inmate at the U.S.’s most secure prison) the facility remains in operation, with the Obama administration planning to hold 46 of the detainees indefinitely and doing nothing to discharge the 86 innocent men who have been cleared for release as of 2010. 






Gitmo has been condemned internationally for inflicting cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment upon detainees. Its interrogation tactics and practices of torture include sleep deprivation, shackling in stress positions, extended exposure to very cold temperatures, and sexual humiliation. Torture has long-term mental and emotional effects on both victims and torturers, damages international credibility, and creates incentive for retaliation. Moreover, it is ineffective, as information extracted by using torture is unreliable.




Hunger Strikes


To protest such torture and injustice, at least 102 of the total current detainees have joined a hunger strike that began in February 2013 . In response, Gitmo personnel have started force-feeding around one-fourth of the prison’s population, which infringes upon the medical profession’s ethics and protocol, according to the American Medical Association. The World Medical Association and the United Nations have also criticized force-feeding competent hunger strikers as another form of torture. Reports have claimed that physicians strap prisoners into restraining chairs; shove overly-large tubes through the nose, down the throat, and into the stomach; and often use the same tubes for multiple prisoners without cleaning off the blood.


In solidarity with hunger-striking detainees, several CloseGitmo.net members initiated open-ended hunger strikes and long-term fasts in a nonviolent attempt to pressure the government to close Gitmo. Further, as of July 2013, inmates at California’s Pelican Bay State Prison have called for a nationwide hunger strike to protest similar torture conditions within U.S. prisons, a movement in unity with CloseGitmo.net’s aims to end all U.S.-sanctioned torture (as defined by international law for human rights).




Act Now


During a speech on national security in May 2013, President Obama renewed his five-year-old promise to shut down Guantánamo and has acknowledged that it is a threat to national security. As a global symbol of an America that breaches the very values of justice and human rights upon which it was founded, Gitmo stains the U.S. image abroad and de-legitimizes the government. However, despite his authority as commander-in-chief, President Obama has yet to fulfill his pledge.



The time to close Gitmo is long overdue, and the situation becomes more urgent each day. We can no longer be silent about these legal, moral, and fiscal atrocities.  As American citizens and as human beings, it is our responsibility to fight for the end of torture at the hands of the United States government. Any action, small or large, is a step forward for humanity. 


For more information on how to get involved, visit closegitmo.net/act.
To Download this information in brochure format, click here



About CloseGitmo.net:  CloseGitmo.net is the collaborative effort of multiple organizations working toward the closure of the Guantánamo Bay detention center as well as ending torture in all U.S. prisons and supporting prisoner protests. Inspired by the Gitmo hunger strike that began in February 2013, CloseGitmo.net has grown to become a network larger than any single group or individual, all working in solidarity to maximize political impact and achieve common goals through educating the public, publicizing actions and events, coordinating campaigns, building media coverage, and more.




Member Organizations of CloseGitmo.net: