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Witnessing Guantánamo

Fire John Yoo! (A Blog project from The World Can't Wait)
by Curt Wechsler (IndyBay post by Mary Brassell)
June 7, 2008


On May 31, 2008 an historic event took place; the Guantanamo Testimonials Project invited Amy Goodman to interview former Guantanamo detainees in a video conference connecting Davis with the Sudan. Organized by Almerindo Ojeda, the director of the UC Davis Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas, and coordinated with his former student, Isma'il Kushkush from Sudan, the event focused on the testimony of former Guantanamo prisoners: Adel Hasan Hamad, Hammad Ali Amno Gad Allah, and Salim Mahmud Adam.

As the trials of Guantanamo prisoners begin and worldwide outrage is supported by a federal court decision that these trials are illegal, the UC Davis Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas recorded the words of former Guantanamo prisoners in a video conference with Adel Hasan Hamad, Hammad Ali Amno Gad Allah, and Salim Mahmud Adam from Khartoum, Sudan. The event took place on May 31, 2008 at UC Davis.

Almerindo Ojeda explained the purpose of the Testimonial Project to those present, "Guantanamo--the prison--may close soon. Perhaps even by the end of the year. But Guantanamo--the experience--will go on for years to come. We will need to know exactly what happened there. To acknowledge the suffering of fellow human beings, to hold perpetrators to account, to seek reconciliation with the rest of the world, and to prevent it from ever happening again. The Guantanamo Testimonials Project will not end with the closure of the prison. It will end when the experience of lawlessness and abuse it created has been fully understood.

Adel Hamad encouraged the audience to move from understanding to action, "You should struggle against any government that abuses human rights and we are with you hand in hand in this struggle."

Isma'il Kushkush, a former UCD history student and a journalist in Sudan, translated each man's words from from Arabic.

Each man described his life before being arrested, the torture he endured, the inhumane treatment of others that he witnessed and his willingness to speak out to prevent this from continuing in the world.

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