Guantánamo Must Close | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: DENY X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Guantánamo Must Close

Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn has lost many things over the course of the disastrous US “war on terror.” As one of the thirty-nine remaining detainees in Washington’s extralegal prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, he has lost touch with the outside world for nearly two decades.

Presumably, too, he has lost some sense of well-being, and not merely for the psychological and physical distress that imprisonment provokes by design. He was the first prisoner to be subjected to the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” program at an agency black site, making his legacy distinctly sinister among his cohort.

His case is thus notorious among the 780 men and children who have been held at Guantánamo. He was the first to be waterboarded, subjected to forced nudity, deprived of sleep for days on end, and held in a box no larger than a human coffin for long stretches of time.

The same fate befell countless others, but his case, detailed at length in the 2012 Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on torture, is perhaps especially haunting for the precedent that it set. When al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn entered CIA custody following his capture in a US-Pakistani raid in March 2002 in Faisalabad, Pakistan, he still had his left eye. By the time he was transferred from a black site to Gitmo four years later, he had lost that, too.

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