Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Guantanamo North. The Living Conditions of the Suspected.

Guantanamo Bay. It is known as one of the most inhumane prisons in the Western world.

In Cuba, these inmates have been suspected of being a threat to American National Security and have been held under horrendous conditions. (I remind you they have not officially been charged based on concrete, public evidence) Guantanamo's inmates have been known to be beaten, confined in cold cells, deprived of sleep and experience abuse of religion; having their Holy Book, the Qur’an, thrown in the toilet among other instances. Many of these detainees have been held since 2001, after the attacks on the World Trade Centre.

Far in distance, and close in likeness is Millhaven Penitentiary. It is a high-security prison outside Kingston, Ontario. The location of concern is a small prison within Millhaven that houses six persons.; six detainees suspected of threat to National Security. Parallel to the security certificates and evidence, these men have been detained and their conditions and experiences have been hidden from public scrutiny until the men have the opportunity to disclose their experiences.

Again, these men are held indefinitely, not knowing what evidence is being held against them. Currently, we have remaining a Syrian refugee Hassan Almrei. Would you care to take a shot in the dark how long he’s been there? 8 months? 15? 2 years? The answer is, this month marks his 7th year that he’s been held in detention under the National Security Certificate.

Maybe he is not beaten here. Maybe he is not intentionally robbed of sleep. Maybe the pages from his Holy Book are not torn out. But what we do have is a place where people can be tortured with the prospect of being held between four concrete walls without knowing when you will taste freedom again, just like in Guantanamo Bay.

Almrei said, “I am in jail for seven years in a country where they call themselves a democratic country. They believe in principle of law (but) they have a double standard – one for Canadian citizen, one for non-citizens.” Many human rights activists have fought against the psychological torture of the detainees in Millhaven.

In January of 2007, one of the detainees, Mahmoud Jaballah wrote in an open letter to the Canadian people:

And now we are faced with the denial of medical care. In one case, shots for Hepatitis C have not been given since September 2, 2006. Surgery for a knee injury and a double hernia have not been scheduled, even though we have been here since April, 2006. Our demands are very simple.
We would like to use phone cards to call family overseas. The KIHC makes us use the most expensive plan available, which our families can't afford because they are on social assistance. Since calls are monitored, it makes no sense why a cheaper calling card cannot be used.
We want the same rights as other federal inmates: access to a library, educational programs, and trailer visits with our families where we can stay together for three days every month

He continues to mention they their outdoor area is just three meters away from a large fenced in grassy area that is not in use by other inmates.

I leave you with this quote and wish to hear your reflections on the living conditions of those being detained under the security certificates: “Ultimately, we wish to be treated as human beings, and all human beings have rights. We wish to be reunited with our loved ones, but until that time comes, we want to live with as much dignity as is possible while we are at Guantanamo North. There is no security-related reason why this is not possible.”

(Actual open letter: )


Shocked said...

Wow, its shocking to see how Canada can treat these individuals. I mean, even the convicted people get good or reasonable treatment. What's that all about?

How can people who have not been convicted be treated so terribly?
And whats the big deal about letting them hang out on the green field? Even animals are allowed to stray on green pastures. These people are saying these people are not only less than the convicted inmates, they're less than the animals too!

Anonymous said...

I think it's important to understand and distinguish between prison and a place where people are literally butchered by their guards. When I say butchered I mean shown no respect whatsoever. What kind of a prison treats someone's religious valuables like that? There has to be a line drawn so that one can see that religion is not something to be tampered with. With that being said, I think it's important that we all open our eyes to the destruction that is 'trying' to keep us from seeing it...we need to understand that no one is alone and no one is safe. 7 years in a prison where you're treated like a total stranger to human-kind is not a prison...that is the hell of this earth.

cry for justice said...

I'd definitely agree with the previous comments.. I couldn't have said it better myself.

Guantanamo is not a prison.. It's hell that broke loose.

faa-T said...

What I find interesting is to compare these conditions with the prison conditions that pedophiles are exposed to (prison system wise) - what does that say about the Canadian moral system and what crimes* are considered more heinous then others

* I mean, recognizing that *no* crime has been proven yet. But to make that comparison with the assumption that the prisoner's criminality was sufficiently proven

Hotty777 said...

with this kind of standard of human rights how can they be surprised that there is a continual intensification of hatered and animosity towards the western world?

Reezo said...

I think there are worse human rights violations when being detainees in other countries.

Really, I think its how Canada treats other countries that's fueling hatred of the Western world.

But still, I don't hear other countries saying 'Death to the West'. They hate the U.S., but I mean look at this comparison of our prison system to Guantanamo Bay... we're becoming just like them, and I wouldn't doubt that we're gonna start getting threats as our foreign policy is starting to mirror America's.

Anonymous said...

I hope when they find out these guys did nothing wrong, they sue the gvt and suck them dry.

They will hopefully get 10.5 million like Arar did.

aypatel said...

Everyone, regardless of what they have done or have NOT done deserves their humanity. This is a God given right that should not, under any circumstance be taken away by any organization, state or country.

wondering said...

really aypatel?
even someone who rapes and murders a 5yr old girl?
even someone who intends to bomb a big city building during rush hour?

im just curious.

surely not everyone deserves the same treatment :S
if some people dont think other deserve human rights, we should we grant them theirs?