Here’s What You Should Know About Guantanamo Bay

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In light of what some are calling a crazy gamble by the Ghanaian government for having accepted two detainees from Gitmo, here’s the need-to-know about the detention camp .

•Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp is a US Naval base in Southeastern Cuba. It’s sometimes referred to as GTMO(pronounced ‘Gitmo’).

•It was opened by former president George Bush in 2002 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks

•Two days after his inauguration in 2009, President Obama signed an executive order to shut down the Detention camp within one year.

•It’s an all-male prison

•Most of the inmates were from Arab countries, with most of them from Yemen and Saudi Arabia. There are also Chinese, Spanish and English inmates.

•Since its opening in 2002, it has held 779 detainees.

•As at January 8th this year, there were still about 104 detainees in Guantanamo Bay.

•It is reported that about 17 to 22 detainees were minors at the time of their incarceration–between 13 and 15 years old– which is a purported violation of international law.

•The oldest inmate was 80 years old.

•Many inmates await trial.

•There have been several protest calling for the closure of the camp because of the grave treatment of the inmates and the abuse of their human rights.

•No one is known to have ever escaped Guantanamo Bay.

•Many of the detainees are alleged criminals involved one way or the other in terrorism; from people who’ve served as links between Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, would-be hijackers in the 9/11 disaster to Al-Qaeda leaders.

•Several ex-detainees have reported of abuse and torturous interrogation practices by the CIA including sexual abuse, being hung from rafters for days at a time and being submerged in ice water.

•In 2005, hunger strikes began at Guantanamo Bay by the a handful of inmates to protest their innocence and the conditions within which they were imprisoned. Lots of inmates’ body weight dropped to about 45kg.

•Officials of the countered by initiating force-feeding(a term that’s banned there) which they call “enteral feeding”, an agonizing process where after refusing 9 successive meals, inmates are strapped to a chair and have liquid nutrients fed to them through tubes inserted into their nostrils. They are strapped to the restraint chair until the food digests to prevent induced vomiting.

•At an accumulated annual cost of $800,000 per prisoner, it’s the most expensive prison on earth. It’s almost 30 times the cost of housing a prisoner on US soil.

•January 11th marked 14 years since the opening of the detention camp.

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