Since 2002, Guantanamo Bay has held a total of 780 prisoners. In this time it has become a global symbol of injustice: a place which stands for torture, abuse, and indefinite detention.Since 2002, Guantanamo Bay has held a total of 780 prisoners. In this time it has become a global symbol of injustice: a place which stands for torture, abuse, and indefinite detention.
Over the last 15 years, the Government has attempted to suppress the truth about Guantanamo. In response, we have been working to bring the facts to the public. As it turns out, Guantanamo is not a prison full of the “worst of the worst,” but a prison full of mistakes.
Here, we bring you 7 facts that you may not know about America’s infamous illegal prison:
1. Most detainees were sold to the US for enormous bounties
The vast majority of detainees in Guantanamo (86%) were not captured by US forces. Instead the Government filled the prison with people they bought for bounties. The US flew planes over parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan offering $5,000 for any “suspicious person.” This amounted to approximately seven years’ average salary for most people in the area, encouraging them to turn over innocent men in exchange for a life-changing amount of money.
Since then, it has turned out they got it wrong most of the time. It didn’t even take long for those in charge to see their mistake– as early as 2002, Guantanamo’s operational commander complained that he was being sent too many “mickey mouse” detainees.
2. The Bush administration decided that the prisoners had no rights, and Reprieve was a big part of changing that
After the first prisoners arrived at Guantanamo in 2002, the Bush administration claimed that the Geneva Convention – the rules governing the treatment of prisoners of war – did not apply. As a result, the detainees were denied access to lawyers, and the right to challenge their detention. This was until Reprieve’s founder Clive Stafford Smith and two other lawyers successfully challenged President Bush in the Supreme Court. They won access to Guantanamo, opened it up and began representing the prisoners held there. Since then, we have gone on to secure the release of over 80 detainees – more than any other organization.