courtesy Travis Hardin Home : Essays : Palestinian in Guantanemo

FROM THE LOCSEC [Sept 08] by Travis Hardin
Palestinian in Guantanemo

Originally published in the newsletter of North Alabama Mensa

I was impressed by the following report, titled "ALONE."

Walid is a 28-year-old Palestinian who has been imprisoned in
Guantanamo Bay since 2002. According to a report by Human Rights
Watch, he suffers delusions, anxiety, and depression as a result of
his isolation, and he appears to have developed schizophrenia. Like
Walid, most detainees at Guantanamo live in conditions that resemble
those of supermax prisons in the U.S. But unlike in super-maxes, where
prisoners can have TVs in their cells and occasional interaction with
the outside world, in Guantanamo, detainees (none of whom have been
convicted) are usually locked up alone with only a Koran and a single
other book for 22 hours a day. No prisoner has ever received a visit
from a friend or relative, and many have never been allowed a phone
call. While detainees can sometimes communicate with each other by
shouting through door slits, guards remain their primary source of
interaction. The study cites evidence that such isolation can produce
"the most extreme forms of psycho-pathology, such as
depersonalization, hallucination, and delusions." Lawyers report that
some detainees are no longer able to assist in their own defense or
make decisions about their case. Though many detainees pose major
security risks, the study argues that prolonged isolation "can
aggravate desperate behavior, potentially creating worse security
problems over time," and that mental illnesses will "complicate
ongoing efforts to resettle or repatriate many of these men." --The
Atlantic,  Sep 08, "Locked Up Alone: Detention Conditions and Mental
Health at Guantanamo" -- Human Rights Watch

A Web search will find the entire report at


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Last updated April 2016