In his letters, Guantánamo Bay prisoner Shaker Aamer appeals in desperation to his captors and the outside world:
"Please … torture me in the old way. Here they destroy people mentally and physically without leaving marks.”
The 44-year-old British resident and father of four has spent over 11 years incarcerated at Guantánamo despite being cleared for release as early as 2007. To this day never charged with a crime, Aamer is just one of hundreds of detainees who remain imprisoned in Guantánamo. Despite running on an explicit campaign promise to shut down the island prison which has become a symbol of the abuses of the “war on terror”, President Obama has continued to preside over its operation.
And by recent accounts, under his tenure, the conditions for prisoners there – from both a physical and legal standpoint – have become markedly worse.
This past month, the majority of prisoners at Guantánamo began a hunger strike in protest of alleged mistreatment at the hands of guards at the facility. According to lawyers for over a dozen men involved in the protest, after weeks of refusing food, their clients are "coughing blood, losing consciousness and becoming weak and fatigued". At least five men are reportedly being strapped down by guards and force-fed through their nostrils…