Life After Guantanamo: Exiled In Kazakhstan

2015, Politics  -   7 Comments
Ratings: 8.26/10 from 42 users.

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.

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7 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Dave

    US sends these people to desolate places with very basic Health care , they are not allowed to leave the town they are assigned basically live a shitty life and die, only because the USA labeled them as terrorists.

  2. Kagee

    Dehumanized and suffering from P.T.S.D these men are alone and segregated from family, community and even proper medical treatment. Amounts to torture in my books.

  3. Mahmoud BouRaad

    Values mater. So does freedom.
    Life after Guantanamo In exiled Kazakhstan wouldn't make any difference to the exiled from that in Guantanamo as they are now living in an open prison denied of their rights and dignity. Where is the respect of the Hunan Rights Issues? What a joke?

  4. Jean Clink

    Cheryl, I relate to what you are saying. I am so glad you wrote. Such injustice breeds only more trouble, heartache, hopelessness. It must break the heart of God. We will be praying also.

  5. Cheryl

    I read your comment Rose E., and I wonder whether human beings have come so close to losing the ability to feel compassion for others, together with a willingness to believe that not everyone is lying, that we are in danger of it becoming an extinct human quality.
    I watched the same documentary. I looked closely at his eyes when he spoke and especially when he didn't speak. I saw, not the rage I would have expected and would have struggled personally not to have succumbed to if it were me in his position, but a deep sadness and sense of despair.
    Can you not try, even for a moment, to imagine how YOU would feel in his place? Whether YOU would be feeling gratitude because the place you've been sent to is "pretty nice [with] lots of paints"? Or would you cry yourself to sleep at night for the loss of a life because you made some (relatively minor) mistakes like the ones he made? He is no criminal. He has a medical condition that would frighten someone under the best of care and surrounded by family and love. I know what I would be doing in his place. I would be struggling to find a single reason to continue finding hope. I would cry at night.
    I will do the only thing I feel I can and pray for him, and pray also for others more fortunate to remember that we are here to love - not to hate.

  6. Paul Maxwell

    Of course this portrays the point of view of these men. We've already heard the point of view of their captors for a dozen years. About time we heard the other side.

    These men are not 'detainees', a despicable, dishonest weasel word. They are prisoners of war, and are entitled to protection under the Geneva Conventions. The fact that they weren't even be charged with ANYTHING speaks volumes about the American disregard for international law and common human decency.

  7. Rose E

    Like the narrator said at the end of this production, they only have the Guantanamo detainee's side of things. Sabri has a pretty nice apartment, lots of paints, etc. Better than many people have in Khazakstan. However, this production is the point of view of the detainees. In my rarely humble opinion, I doubt very much that Guantanamo was/is better than what these men have today.