Time is running out for Saifullah, Guantánamo’s oldest detainee

Shelby Sullivan-Bennis

Attorney,  Reprieve

 

I recently met Saifullah Paracha—one of Reprieve’s clients in Guantánamo—to prepare him for his Periodic Review Board (PRB) hearing. At 71, Saifullah is the oldest detainee in Guantánamo. He is diabetic and has already suffered 2 heart attacks – his time is running out. At the hearing, Saifullah pleaded to be allowed to spend his final days with his family.

Instead, he is serving what amounts to a life-long sentence for a crime that he has never been charged with, let alone tried for. Just imagine being in his shoes—spending your final days in an offshore prison faced with the prospect of never seeing your family again. This is why I choose to be part of Reprieve and why I won’t stop fighting for Saifullah and others like him.

“We cannot give up fighting for justice for them and we absolutely cannot give up hope.”

For me, the clients I meet with in Guantánamo have collectively redefined the meaning of hope, as they manage to keep it alive within themselves after all these years. We cannot give up fighting for justice for them and we absolutely cannot give up hope.

With the support of tens of thousands of human rights advocates, Reprieve has been instrumental in freeing over 80 Guantánamo detainees over the last 17 years. We know that fights like this one are not won overnight, but with growing numbers adding their voices to our campaign, we will ensure that Guantánamo and its victims are not forgotten. Together we will consign “America’s illegal prison” to its rightful place in a dark corner of history.

We can only continue the fight because of people like you—so thank you for being part of the fight for human rights, and for being part of Reprieve.

 

Together we will close Guantánamo

17 years since it opened, Guantánamo has become an enduring symbol of injustice in our time. Will you join Shelby and the 30,000 other human rights advocates calling for Guantánamo to be closed for good?

Yes, of course