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“Gulag of Our Time”: Amnesty International Calls on Biden Admin to Shut Down Guantánamo Bay Prison

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Fifty-six-year-old Abdul Latif Nasser is the first Guantánamo Bay prisoner to be released under the Biden administration. He was imprisoned for nearly two decades without charge and had been cleared for release since 2016. Thirty-nine prisoners remain at Guantánamo. “Legally speaking, morally speaking, that space that has been created has no significance other than the harm it is placing on people,” says Agnès Callamard, secretary general of Amnesty International.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: And finally, I wanted to ask you about Guantánamo. Guantánamo was just in the news yesterday, because after an extended period of time, the first prisoner at Guantánamo has been released under the Biden administration. He was released yesterday to Morocco. Can you talk about — there are now 39 prisoners. He was at Guantánamo for 17 years without charge, like so many of the men there.

AGNÈS CALLAMARD: Mm-hmm, yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: Is Amnesty International — are you calling for Guantánamo to be closed?

AGNÈS CALLAMARD: Absolutely. You know, Amnesty has called for the closure of Guantánamo for almost, let me think, decades, I would say, for as long as it has been in place. One secretary general of Amnesty, very, I think, powerfully, referred to the Guantánamo as a gulag of our time. So, the position of Amnesty is very clear. This is a known space, Guantánamo. You know, legally speaking, morally speaking, that space that has been created has no significance other than the harm it is placing on people and the fact that it is outside any kind of agreed, understood rule of law. So, you know, we need — we need to see the end of that scar. It’s a scar for the United States. It’s a scar on our humanity. That’s that simple.

AMY GOODMAN: We want to thank you so much for being with us, Dr. Agnès Callamard, secretary general of Amnesty International, speaking to us from London. And thank you to Nina Lakhani, senior reporter at The Guardian, one of 17 media organizations that are part of The Pegasus Project.

Next up, a federal judge has struck down DACA. That’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. We’ll speak to a DACA recipient in Houston. Stay with us.

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