All posts tagged: Guantánamo

Why ‘Serial’ Turned to Guantánamo: “This Place Is Crazy and Nobody Knows About It”

Why ‘Serial’ Turned to Guantánamo: “This Place Is Crazy and Nobody Knows About It”

Nearly a decade ago, reporters Sarah Koenig and Dana Chivvis set out to tell a different kind of story about Guantánamo Bay, the prison and court created by the US shortly after 9/11, intended to detain people US forces had captured and suspected of being members of the Taliban or al-Qaida. In 2015, when Barack Obama was approaching his final year in office and pushing to close the Cuban detention facility, they started their reporting, traveling to Guantánamo themselves and interviewing people associated with the the prison camp. But no one would say anything compelling on the record. “We’d get these super-stiff interviews on tape, and then they would be like, ‘Can you turn that off for a second?’ Or, ‘Can you just pause for a second?’ And then they would tell you the real thing that was going on,” said Koenig. They eventually killed the story. But Koenig and Chivvis were determined to tell an inside account of Guantánamo Bay in some capacity, and even turned to fiction—writing a TV pilot about a version …

New ‘Serial’ Podcast Explores Life at Guantánamo Bay

New ‘Serial’ Podcast Explores Life at Guantánamo Bay

Times Insider explains who we are and what we do and delivers behind-the-scenes insights into how our journalism comes together. It was a sunny day in May 2015 when Sarah Koenig and Dana Chivvis stepped off a U.S. military-chartered plane and onto the naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. They were there to learn the unofficial story of Guantánamo, where, after Sept. 11, the U.S. government had opened a prison to hold people it suspected of being members of the Taliban or Al Qaeda. So began a story that would span nearly 10 years and hundreds of hours of interviews. That story is told in the new season of “Serial,” a podcast from Serial Productions and The New York Times. Over nine episodes (the first two drop on Thursday), Ms. Koenig and Ms. Chivvis, the season’s co-hosts, present a mosaic of life at Guantánamo using the experiences of those who have survived and served there, as Ms. Koenig put it in the season’s trailer. That includes former prisoners, guards, interrogators and more. “There’s been a …

Bali Bombing Conspirators Get 5 More Years at Guantánamo Bay

Bali Bombing Conspirators Get 5 More Years at Guantánamo Bay

A military jury at Guantánamo Bay sentenced two prisoners to 23 years in confinement on Friday for conspiring in the 2002 terrorist bombing that killed 202 people in Bali, Indonesia. But the men could be freed by 2029 under a secret deal and with sentencing credit. Mohammed Farik Bin Amin and Mohammed Nazir Bin Lep, both Malaysians, have been held by the United States since the summer of 2003, starting with three years in C.I.A. black site prisons where they were tortured. They pleaded guilty to war crimes charges last week. About a dozen relatives of tourists who were killed in the attacks spent an emotional week at the court and testified to their enduring grief. A jury of five U.S. military officers, assembled to decide a sentence in the 20-to-25-year range, returned 23 years after deliberating for about two hours on Friday. But, unknown to the jurors, a senior Pentagon official reached a secret agreement over the summer with the defendants that they would be sentenced to at most six more years. In exchange …

Guantanamo panel recommends 23-year sentences for 2 in connection with 2002 Bali attacks

Guantanamo panel recommends 23-year sentences for 2 in connection with 2002 Bali attacks

WASHINGTON (AP) — A military panel at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba recommended 23 years in detention Friday for two Malaysian men in connection with deadly 2002 bombings in Bali, a spokesman for the military commission said. The recommendation, following guilty pleas earlier this month under plea bargains for longtime Guantanamo detainees Mohammed Farik Bin Amin and Mohammed Nazir Bin Lep, marks comparatively rare convictions in the two decades of proceedings by the U.S. military commission at Guantanamo. Guantanamo military commission spokesman Ronald Flesvig confirmed the sentencing recommendations. The extremist group Jemaah Islamiyah killed 202 Indonesians, foreign tourists and others in two nearly simultaneous bombings at nightspots on the resort island of Bali. The two defendants denied any role or advance knowledge of the attacks but under the plea bargains admitted they had over the years conspired with the network of militants responsible. The sentence recommendation still requires approval by the senior military authority over Guantanamo. The two are among a total of 780 detainees brought to military detention at Guantanamo under the George W. Bush’s administration’s …

Plea Agreement May Shorten Further Time at Guantanamo for 2 in Connection With Bali Bombings

Plea Agreement May Shorten Further Time at Guantanamo for 2 in Connection With Bali Bombings

WASHINGTON (AP) — A military panel at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, recommended 23 years in detention Friday for two Malaysian men in connection with deadly 2002 bombings in Bali, a spokesman for the military commission said. However, under a previously secret provision of the plea agreement disclosed after the panel’s recommendation Friday, and a separate sentence reduction Friday by the presiding judge, both men may face a far shorter sentence: about five years. Mohammed Farik Bin Amin and Mohammed Nazir Bin Lep already have spent about 17 years awaiting trial at Guantanamo. The winding down of the case against them marks comparatively rare convictions in the two decades of proceedings by the U.S. military commission at Guantanamo. The extremist group Jemaah Islamiyah killed 202 Indonesians, foreign tourists and others in two nearly simultaneous bombings at nightspots on the resort island of Bali in October 2002. Political Cartoons The two defendants denied any role or advance knowledge of the attacks but under the plea bargains admitted they had over the years conspired with the network of militants …

Families to Testify at Guantánamo Bay About Loved Ones Lost to Terror

Families to Testify at Guantánamo Bay About Loved Ones Lost to Terror

Frank Heffernan thought his daughter Megan was in South Korea where she was working as an English teacher when he heard the news of a devastating terrorist attack on the Indonesian island of Bali on Oct. 12, 2002. Then the State Department called. Megan Heffernan, 28, who was born and raised in Alaska and had a passion for travel, was among the 202 people who were killed in the coordinated bombings carried out by an affiliate of Al Qaeda at a pub and nearby club in Bali. She had gone there with friends on a vacation. “Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her,” said Mr. Heffernan, mopping his eyes with a tissue at his home in Florida. In the random, cruel fashion of terrorism, the bombing killed tourists and workers from 22 nations who happened to be in a commercial district, including 38 Indonesians. Among the dead were Australian and British citizens who were there for a rugby match, Americans passionate about surfing — and Megan and two Korean friends, who …

It’s been 22 years since the Guantánamo prison opened. Men are still held there | Pardiss Kebriaei

It’s been 22 years since the Guantánamo prison opened. Men are still held there | Pardiss Kebriaei

Sharqawi Al Hajj is a man detained at the US military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. I have been his lawyer for many years. This week marks 22 years since the prison was opened, and Sharqawi’s 20th year inside. He is one of 30 men still detained there, down from nearly 800 ever held. This trajectory is because Guantánamo, though not singular among prisons in its harsh treatment and arbitrary detention, was at least for a time very overt in its extremeness, and what could be seen more plainly than usual caused a reaction. There are public records and images of an earlier period that people who are old enough remember. A news article from 2002, reporting on the first planeload of detainees arriving, sticks with me. Men chained to their seats for 8,000 miles were led off the plane because they wore goggles covered with black tape; some fell to the ground. A government report from 2008 described interrogations during those years, things like a man being found immobile on the floor of an …

Guantánamo Bay is still open. This week, pressure ramped up to close it : NPR

Guantánamo Bay is still open. This week, pressure ramped up to close it : NPR

In this handout photo provided by the U.S. Navy, U.S. Military Police guard detainees in orange jumpsuits on Jan. 11, 2002 at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. U.S. Navy/Getty Images hide caption toggle caption U.S. Navy/Getty Images In this handout photo provided by the U.S. Navy, U.S. Military Police guard detainees in orange jumpsuits on Jan. 11, 2002 at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. U.S. Navy/Getty Images It was 22 years ago this week that the U.S. opened a military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to hold suspected terrorists after the 9/11 attacks. That prison remains open today. It still holds 30 men, many of whom have never been criminally charged, and there has still been no 9/11 trial. So this week, a group of nearly 100 advocacy organizations sent a letter to President Biden urging him to finally close the facility. One of them is the Center for Victims of Torture. Its director of global policy and advocacy, Scott Roehm, talks to NPR’s Sacha Pfeiffer about why the prison is still open, and what is happening with the …

UK supreme court rules Guantánamo ‘forever prisoner’ can sue the government under English law – here’s why it matters

UK supreme court rules Guantánamo ‘forever prisoner’ can sue the government under English law – here’s why it matters

The UK supreme court has ruled that a detainee in Guantánamo Bay can sue the UK government under English law over its alleged involvement in his detention and torture. This is the first case concerning the UK government’s liability for its participation in abuses committed by the CIA during the “war on terror”. Abu Zubaydah brought a claim for damages against the UK government in 2020. The court has not yet ruled on the merits of this claim. Rather, it has ruled on an important, though obscure, part of the case to do with which country’s law applies – English law, or those of foreign countries. The answer, according to the court, is English law. This means the case can now proceed to trial. It also has implications should the UK ever decide to cut ties with international legal mechanisms like the European convention on human rights (ECHR). Zubaydah’s case against the UK government After September 11 2001, the CIA built and operated a global network of secret facilities to detain and interrogate terror suspects. …

Guantánamo detainee accuses UK agencies of complicity in his torture | Al-Qaida

A Guantánamo Bay prisoner tortured by the CIA has accused British intelligence agencies of complicity in his mistreatment in a new case before one of UK’s most secretive courts. Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who is alleged by the US to have plotted al-Qaida’s bombing of an American naval ship, is seeking to persuade the court to consider his complaint against MI5, MI6 and GCHQ. Lawyers for al-Nashiri, 58, argued this week there is an “unavoidable inference” the intelligence agencies were complicit in his torture, rendition and mistreatment by the CIA. Al-Nashiri, a Saudi Arabian citizen, was first detained in 2002 as part of the CIA’s post-9/11 secret detention and interrogation programme. He is currently facing the death penalty before a US military commission over his alleged role in the 2000 bombing. The UK government is challenging al-Nashiri’s request for the investigatory powers tribunal (IPT) – a special judicial body that investigates complaints against the intelligence services – to consider the case at a substantive hearing. In papers submitted to the tribunal, al-Nashiri’s barrister, Hugh Southey KC …