National Security Brief: Former Gitmo Prosecutor Urges Obama To Close The Prison

(Credit: UPI)

The former chief prosecutor at the Guantanamo Bay prison has circulated a petition urging President Obama to either put detainees there on trial or free them.

According to Agence France-Presse, Col. Morris Davis’s petition was signed by well over 100,000 people as of Sunday night. “There is something fundamentally wrong with a system where not being charged with a war crime keeps you locked away indefinitely and a war crime conviction is your ticket home,” Davis said in his petition.

The Defense Department says 100 of the 166 detainees are currently on hunger strike in protest of their indefinite detention, while lawyers for the terror suspects say the number is closer to 130. An Afghan detainee said in a sworn statement that the hunger strike began after Gitmo guards mishandled some prisoners’ Qurans, a charge officials there deny.

“If you’re so angry and depressed, you just can’t feel you want to eat food,” Omar Deghayes, a former Gitmo detainee who was released in 2007, told NPR this weekend. “That’s how it starts.”

Deghayes, who himself went on hunger strike on at least 3 occasions while imprisoned at Gitmo, added: “Thinking about why we’ve been there for many, many years inside those prisons without any chance to look at the evidence [against us.] There is no hope. All that comes together. And then it’s a cry of help to the outside world [as] a last resort.”

In other news:

  • Reuters reports: United Nations human rights investigators have gathered testimony from casualties of Syria’s civil war and medical workers indicating that rebel forces have used the nerve agent sarin, one of the lead investigators said Sunday.
  • The New York Times reports: The Syrian government publicly condemned Israel for a powerful air assault on military targets near Damascus early Sunday, saying it “opened the door to all possibilities,” as fear spread throughout the region that the country’s civil war could expand beyond its borders.