It was born out of the events of September 11th 2001, the day that many people said changed the world forever. It’s without question a place that has caused huge controversy with men being held for years on end, with no trial, and many claiming to have been subjected to horrific torture both at the camp and in other countries around the world as part of extraordinary rendition.
Yesterday the latest detainee was released. Binyam Mohammed was held for four years. The US accused him of involvement in a radioactive “dirty bomb” plot but all terror charges against him were dropped last year. He’s an Ethiopian national, but a British resident and is now back on British soil.
Few people would argue that suspects should be routinely tortured. But should people that the authorities feel do, or could, pose a threat be locked up without trial? Is the safety of the wider public more important than one person’s human rights? If you look at the facts, post 9/11 no further plots came to fruition in the US – is that the result of Guantanamo Bay? Does it prove it works? The Pentagon says one in ten Guantanamo detainees go back to terrorism, is that because 9 out 10 were never involved in terrorist activity or because they’ve turned their back on it?
Guantanamo was after all an unusual response to an unusual time. Did it work, has it kept us safe? And now as the detention camp begins to wind up, does the world need a replacement for Guantanamo Bay?