‘Men live in Guantanamo animal cages, will never get trials’

0a77000 was444195 ‘Men live in Guantanamo animal cages, will never get trials’

The situation has alarmed Lt. Col Barry Wingard, a US militaryattorney who advocates for Guantanamo detainees.Wingard spoke to RT about the future of Guantanamo Bay’s 166detainees.RT: I understand you have access to your clients inGuantanamo – when was the last time you saw them and what statewere they in?Lt. Col Barry Wingard: The last time I saw my clients wasbetween the February 25 and March 8. I visited with them multipletimes. I was shocked at the condition they were in. In fact, wewere the first people who broke the story that the hunger strikehad begun around February 6 or 7 and had continued on. My client atthat point had lost 26 pounds (12kg) and at this point it’sofficial that he’s lost almost 40 pounds (18kg) – one third of hisbody weight from 147 pounds (67kg).RT: How long can they go on like that?BW: I can imagine we’re getting near to the end whensomething serious is going to happen. The administration down inGuantanamo Bay initially denied the report that the hunger strikewas occurring. They then said it was seven, then 14, then 21people. They then said it wasn’t the largest hunger strike inhistory. Then they came out and said it’s 24, 25, and today 26people. So the story is getting more accurate as we go, but we’rerunning out of time.RT: Do you think it really will take that?BW: Well I’m here to tell you that after 11-and-a-halfyears, these men that live in animal cages in America’s offshoreprison in Guantanamo Bay, they ask for justice. They’ve been there11-and-a-half years. Ninety per cent of them have no charges[against them]. I can tell you having looked at my clients’ cases,they will never get a trial based upon the evidence that is againstthem, so if their home countries are not willing to intervene anddo something, I don’t see it coming from Washington. Washingtonseems to take the position that we don’t have time to deal withthese 166 condemned men in our offshore prison.RT: How’s Washington going to deal with the PR if someonedoes die?BW: Well you’re going to have to answer that as a politicalquestion. I’m a lawyer. I’m here to look at the facts and tell youthat I’ve reviewed these cases and these guys will never gettrials. If they’re never getting trials, then we have to go by whatthe president said in March 2011, when he said indefinite detentionwill be implemented in Guantanamo Bay and will be the law of theUnited States. Forty-eight men will be condemned to die never beinggiven a trial or given an opportunity to defend themselves. Theyare essentially dead men who just happen to breathe.RT: For the people you’ve spoken to there – includingyour clients – what was their mindset? Is it the same as when theystarted 45/46 days ago, as it is now? Did they think they’d have totake this through to the bitter end, or did they think somethingwould give beforehand?BW: I can’t speak for what every man down there thought, butwhat I can tell you is that the vast majority of people inGuantanamo Bay are cleared for release. They’re cleared to go home.The United States acknowledges that they’ve committed no crime, yetwe still continue to house them in a penal colony in GuantanamoBay. Imagine if the situation was reversed and the US had 166citizens held in some other country’s offshore prison. I don’t wantto go into what happened in the early years as far as enhancedinterrogation, but the situation isn’t getting any better. Thesemen have figured out that probably the only way for them to go home– cleared or not – is in a wooden box.RT: Do you take any comfort at all in this US militaryplan to spend $49 million on the facility, supposedly making itmore comfortable for the inmates?BW: This is not about soccer fields or food or anythingelse. This is about justice and freedom. This is a bigger concept.This is what the US stands for. Not more servings of food or moresoccer fields to play on. This is a matter of getting these menhome or giving them trials.

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‘Men live in Guantanamo animal cages, will never get trials’

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