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Thursday, December 6, 2007

I will never leave Guantanamo

Thanks to Sabin Willett for putting a human face on our detainees in the Guantanamo Bay Prison Camp (I will never leave Guantanamo, Boston Globe, December 3, 2007). Joseph, a pseudonym, has been found to be innocent but he is still imprisoned after six years until "the military could find a country to take him."

How about the United States?

Surely after six years of detention, we owe Joseph something. At the very least we should provide him entry as a legal refugee with a Green Card. But that is not enough. Most states now require some form of restitution for prisoners who are held improperly (he was found innocent in 2002). Let's see, what else do we owe Joseph?
1. We owe him compensation for his time behind bars. Let's see: six years is about 2190 days; let's assume he has been awake for 16 hours a day, that means he has suffered 3,540 hours of torment shackled in his cell, at $10.00 per hour, that means we owe him about $350,400.00 in compensation.
When he comes to the U.S. half of that should be placed in a locked-in IRA, the rest paid to him to support him until he becomes self-sufficient.
2. We owe him intensive language training along the lines of that provided to Peace Corps volunteers. This will rapidly bring him up to speed so he can function well in English, the language of his new home.
3. We owe him psychiatric counselling for the Post Traumatic Stress he is likely to be suffering.

That is what we owe Joseph, and that is what we owe all those at Guantanamo Bay who are found to be innocent. They all deserve better than what we did earlier to the innocent Uighurs who, to our shame, were dumped in an Albanian refugee camp without any other support.

Sent to Boston Globe

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