Dear President Trump, Close Guantanamo Bay And Give Us A Fair Trial

I’m a taxi driver from Karachi, in Pakistan. Fifteen years ago I was sold for a bounty and taken by the U.S. military to a secret prison in Afghanistan.

They mistook me for someone called Hassan Gul, and I was tortured for over a year before they flew me to Guantanamo. There’s no disputing this—it’s in the U.S. Senate report on torture. I’ve been held here ever since then, without charge or trial.

I’ve been through a lot—but a new punitive medical regime at this prison might finally kill me.

In May 2013, without any way of defending myself or securing my freedom, I resorted to peaceful protest, and began a hunger strike.

The authorities immediately instituted rules to deal with me and others. If you lost over a fifth of your weight, they would tube-feed you, by force and in a painful way. I weighed 135 pounds when I started, so when I reached 108 pounds I had to be tube-fed.

I have tried to keep my dignity, insisting on going to force-feedings by myself, rather than being dragged to the chair by the ‘forcible cell extraction’ team.

Now, on September 20, things abruptly changed. A new punitive regime has begun, one which deprives us of the proper medical surveillance we so badly need.

A new senior medical officer (SMO) arrived, bringing in a new Trump administration policy of refusing to tube-feed anyone on hunger strike. They apparently don’t mind if people die because of the injustice here, because they figure nobody cares about Guantanámo anymore, and nobody will notice.

I’ve lost more weight than ever before—I’m well under 100 pounds - but they have stopped bringing anyone to check my vitals, weigh me, or force-feed me. They want this peaceful protest over. So they refuse us access to medical care.

10_12_Guantanamo_Bay Poeple walk past a guard tower outside the fencing of Camp 5 at the US Military's Prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on January 26, 2017. Thomas Watkins/AFP/Getty

The doctors here do what the new medical boss tells them. He wants me to beg him for food, but I will not. He is like a dictator.

They tell me it’s my fault if I die. But all I am asking for is basic justice—a fair trial or freedom. I know I am innocent, but I’m not allowed to prove it. I don't want to die, but they will not succeed in breaking my strike. I will not stop demanding justice.

I have a message for President Trump. He is a businessman. The government doesn’t have a case against any of us. Instead of wasting $11 million a year on each prisoner they hold on this island by killing us, why not bring us to court where we can defend ourselves?

Then he can turn this place into a museum—a place for others to visit, to learn about the awful mistakes of the past. Trump could even charge for entry and make money.

Maybe I will die as a result of this hunger strike. Maybe I will lose my sight, and go blind—even so, in here I have nothing to see. One thing is clear: that one day, the authorities at Guantanamo will be held responsible for what they have done.

Ahmed Rabbani is a Pakistani citizen who has been held at Guantanamo Bay without charge or trial since September 2004. Ahmed is assisted by the human rights organization Reprieve.

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