Since 2002, well over 600 prisoners have been freed from Guantanamo Bay, the controversial facility where suspected foreign terrorists of the United States are detained. Life after Guantanamo: Exiled in Kazakhstan follows the trail and examines the tribulations of several of these detainees who were freed in December of 2014.
Of the five detainees who were released and relocated to Kazakhstan as free men, all have suffered severe health issues. One has died. In advocating on their behalf, attorneys for these ex-prisoners face a stark challenge in overcoming ugly misplaced perceptions and procuring greater access to badly needed healthcare resources for their clients.
Despite assurances to the contrary, their promise of freedom even lies in question. One of the prisoners profiled - Lotfi Bin Ali - was imprisoned at Guantanamo for twelve years. Upon his release, the United States government arranged for the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Kazakh Red Crescent Society to oversee his process of integration and care for his living and medical needs. As the documentary camera crew arrives for an interview with Lofti, however, they are denied access by representatives from the Red Crescent Society and told he does not have the right to consult with unapproved visitors. Later, the crew discovers that the organization has continuously denied Lofti access to his chronic arrhythmia medication.
Lofti was apprehended by authorities who claimed he had ties to Al Qaeda, a proposition that was shaky at best and one in which he unwaveringly denied. Records show that he was categorized as a low risk asset due to his chronic health problems, and release was suggested only a year into his incarceration. Amazingly, that release did not occur for another decade. In that entire span of time, he was never proven guilty of a crime and, in fact, was never even charged with one.
Produced by the always relevant and hard-hitting VICE, Life after Guantanamo: Exiled in Kazakhstan explores a facet of the war on terrorism that isn't often considered, and shows that the possible human rights violations committed within the Guantanamo Bay prison system have further dire implications well beyond its walls.