January 11, 2012 will mark the 10th anniversary of Guantánamo Bay Naval Base opening its doors as a detention centre. In those ten years, 779 men have been detained (and mistreated) in this island prison. As of today, 171 men remain and Guantánamo isn't showing signs of closing any time soon; in fact, there is construction all over the base.
It's true the conditions have improved vastly since the days of living in outside cages and the use of torture techniques designed to break US soldiers being held by Communist dictatorships has ended. However, a new torture has come into play: the psychological torture of being held – without a fair trial and access to the outside world – for ten years.
There is no distinction from day to day at Guantánamo for those 171 men who remain. One way the men can engage their minds and pass the time is to read. While Guantánamo has a library, it is not well stocked and has strict borrowing guidelines. One recent benefit awarded to the men has been allowing lawyers to send their clients books, which they are allowed to keep in their cells.
Reprieve has been eager to provide its clients in Guantánamo with books as this is the one small thing we can do to help improve their day-to-day lives. We ask for your assistance in buying books so we can send them to Guantánamo to let the men know they have not been forgotten. Please feel free to buy books you think would be of interest to the men based on their preferences listed below. They must come from Reprieve, but do include a message to the men if you like and send to:
PO Bo 52742
We will then forward the books and your messages to the men (remember to tell us what book you bought for which individual). If you'd rather not buy a book, but would like to make a donation to off-set costs of buying the books or shipping them, that would be very much appreciated.
Thanks for helping us make a difference to these men who have been held illegally for nearly a decade.