This week marks 20 years since the opening of the prison at Guantánamo Bay. It is not yet closed, as I had hoped it would be a decade ago, but this serves as a week of remembrance for all who have suffered in the U.S.’s illegal offshore prison.
As a young lawyer, I first traveled to Guantánamo in 2006 to represent three Uyghurs, including a child, held without charge or trial. I have returned many times in each year since, and represented dozens of other detained men, from Somaliland to Baltimore, in federal courts, military commissions and administrative hearings. I’ve seen about everything there is to see when it comes to challenging unlawful detentions at Guantánamo.
This notorious military installation has changed since the first planeload of men arrived from Afghanistan a generation ago, but the lawlessness from which it originated and the human suffering it has caused endure. As Sen. Dick Durbin remarked recently, Guantánamo is “where due process goes to die.”