President Obama has not made good on his promise to close Guantanamo Bay prison, which he made via an executive order he signed on his first full day in office. Since then, the U.S. Congress has raised the political price of transferring detainees—even those held without charges and already cleared for release.
In 2013, some of the detained men were on hunger strike as their loved ones continued their fight for a life after Guantanamo. Several others who were formerly detained now live in Yemen. Have they been tempted to “return to the battlefield” as Congress warns? Did years of detention, isolation and torture make them want to seek revenge against the United States? And how are they rebuilding their lives?
Fault Lines travels to Yemen to explore the consequences of the U.S. policy of indefinite detention.
Executive Producer: Mathieu Skene, Correspondent: Wab Kinew @wabkinew, Producer: Andrea Schmidt @whatescapes, Producer (Yemen): Nasser Arrabyee @narrabyee,Director of Photography: Saeed Taji Farouky @saeedtaji (Yemen), Singeli Agnew @singeli (DC), Thierry Humeau @telecamfilms, Joel Van Haren @joelvanharen, Editor: Adrienne Haspel @adihaspel, Associate Producers: Abdulai Bah @africandobah, Nicole Salazar @nicolesalazar, Translation: Rabyaah Althaibani @Rabyaah, Omar Duwaji @mideasternist, Research & Production Assistance: Omar Duwaji @mideasternist, Ana Giraldo Wingler @awanderingorill, Jonathan Klett @jonathanklett, Mark Scialla @markscialla
Special Thanks to David Remes (@remesdh) who appeared in the film.
Published on Aug 7, 2014
Never charged with the crime, Mohammed Odani spent almost nine years in prison. He is the last detainee from Guantanamo Bay Prison to have returned home to live in Yemen.
In this episode, Fault Lines travelled to Yemen to ask what the consequences of America’s policy of indefinite detention have been and to find out what life is like there, after Guantanamo.
Mohammed was studying in Pakistan when the aftershocks of September 11th began reverberating around the world. One night in the spring of 2002, he was visiting a student house when Pakistani authorities raided it.
He was arrested, along with more than a dozen others. Two months later, the Pakistanis turned Mohammed over to American forces.
Farouque Ali Akmed had also travelled abroad to teach Koran. Farouque spent eight years at Guantanamo. Like Mohammed, he denies having been involved in attacks on US targets or terrorism of any kind.
Though they labeled him in enemy combatant and said he was associated with Al-Qaeda, the United States never charged him with anything either. As bad as the physical torture was, they say it was nothing compared to torment of being wrongly imprisoned.