Local human rights activists will come together Wednesday for a reading of “Poems From Guantanamo: The Detainees Speak” at the Whetstone branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.
The book contains the writings of 17 prisoners currently being held at the Guantanamo Bay detention facilities in Cuba.
“These are poems from real people, sharing their frustrations, grief and despair,” said Mike Brickner, communications coordinator for the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, one of the event’s sponsors.
Other sponsors are Amnesty International and the local chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Ohio).
Since 2002, the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba has held almost 800 prisoners. More than half have since been released, but many of the remaining prisoners have never been formally charged or put on trial for any crime.
Prisoner Jumah al-Dossari was taken to Guantanamo Bay in January 2002. He tells of his experiences in the piece, “Death Poem.”
“Take my blood,” al-Dossari writes. “Take my death shroud and the remnants of my body, take photographs of my corpse at the grave, lonely. Send them to the world, to the judges and to the people of conscience. Send them to the principled men and the fair-minded.”
Both activist groups and former detainees have spoken out about the conditions at Guantanamo Bay, where they claim the prisoners are subject to various forms of torture, including sensory deprivation and waterboarding.