What’s going on?
The United States’ detention facility at Guantánamo Bay in southern Cuba has held prisoners for over 15 years without charge or trial; most have been tortured and many are extremely isolated and unwell.
President Obama had pledged to close the prison, saying that this potent symbol of War on Terror-era human rights abuses is “not who we are as a country”. But it’s still open, unlawfully holding approximately 41 men. President Trump has now promised to ‘load it up with some bad dudes’.
In the aftermath of 9/11, the government systematically abducted and tortured terrorism suspects, before detaining many of them without charge or trial in Guantánamo.
Roughly 780 men and boys – all Muslim – have been imprisoned there, including at least 15 children. Only eight men have been convicted by a military commission, and just one has been prosecuted in a federal court.
Reprieve’s founder Clive Stafford Smith was one of the three lawyers who demanded, and successfully sued for, the first legal access to the prison. He subsequently helped to secure the release of 75 men. Around 30 of those still being held have been cleared for release. In 2013, the men began a mass hunger strike to peacefully protest their detention and harsh treatment by camp guards.
What we do:
- Reprieve US represents a number of detainees being held at Guantánamo Bay without charge or trial – currently 7 men – and provides legal assistance to many more.
- We led the fight for access to those held at Guantánamo, and were one of the first organizations allowed inside. We have secured freedom for more than 80 men illegally detained – more than any other law firm or NGO.
- Reprieve US campaigns for the closure of Guantánamo, working to keep it at the top of the political agenda.
- We are challenging the abusive force-feeding tactics in court. In February 2014, we won a landmark ruling from Judge Gladys Kessler in Aamer v Obama that hunger-striking Guantánamo detainees have the right to challenge the conditions of their detention.
- Reprieve US provides legal, social and psychological support to former detainees and their families through the ‘Life After Guantánamo’ program, helping them rebuild their lives and live free from official harassment.
Our Guantanamo work:
Our current clients:
Our freed clients:
Latest Guantánamo Bay news: