I’ve written about Guantanamo Bay for years, specifically about Lt. Col. Barry Wingard who represents Kuwaiti detainee Fayiz Al-Kandari. Fayiz is not a terrorist, yet he’s been abused, held without charges, and imprisoned for eleven years, but has done nothing wrong. Barry stands by his innocence, and he is one very principled, extremely smart lawyer who knows what he’s talking about.
My last post, an interview with Barry, titled, No charges, no trials: “After 11 1/2 years, these men live in animal cages… essentially dead men who just happen to breathe,” is a must-read.
I’ve also written endlessly about the injustice of indefinite detention and torture. Finally… finally… because of the hunger strike, the horrific situation there is getting some real attention. Both Chris Hayes and Melissa Harris-Perry have reported on it recently, and now this from the top human rights official at the United Nations, from The Hill:
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said she was “deeply disappointed” that the Obama administration had yet to close it.
“The continuing indefinite incarceration of many of the detainees amounts to arbitrary detention and is in clear breach of international law,” Pillay said in a statement Friday. “Allegedly, around half of the 166 detainees still being held in detention have been cleared for transfer to either home countries or third countries for resettlement… this systemic abuse of individuals’ human rights continues year after year… We must be clear about this: the United States is in clear breach not just of its own commitments but also of international laws and standards that it is obliged to uphold.”
Pillay said that “as a first step,” the U.S. government at least should release the detainees who have been cleared for transfer.
While it’s true that Congress has restricted the Obama administration’s ability to release detainees, Barry Wingard has written countless op-eds about a potential agreement to send Fayiz to Kuwait’s rehab center, so there are other options. Barry Wingard, viaTruthout:
On various occasions since 2002, Kuwait has politely asked the United States to return Fayiz and the other remaining Kuwaiti detainee to Kuwaiti control. Each time, the United States has refused Kuwait’s polite request, citing concerns about Kuwait’s ability to monitor or rehabilitate its returned citizens. In response, Kuwait has constructed a multi-million dollar rehabilitation center, has diligently monitored the detainees that have previously been returned, and has taken action to address each of the United States’ concerns. Still, the answer remains the same.
All my previous posts on this subject matter can be found here; That link includes one specific to only *Fayiz al-Kandari’s story here.
Lt. Col. Barry Wingard is a military attorney who represents Fayiz Al-Kandari in the Military Commission process and in no way represents the opinions of his home state. When not on active duty, Colonel Wingard is a public defender in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
If you’d like to see ways you can take action, go here and scroll down to the end of the article.
More of Fayiz’s story here, at Answers.com.