Guantanamo Bay detainee Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif’s uncle and son are overcome with emotion as they stand above his remains in the Shawlak Mosque in Yemen prior to his burial.
Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, a 36 year old man from Yemen who had spent the last eleven years of his life imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay without any charges held against him, was “found dead” in his cell on the 8th of September, 2012, in what was ruled a suicide by the United States without any sound evidence presented to support the claim.
For Abdul Latif’s son Ezzudin Adnan Latif, who had never met his father as he was born after Abdul Latif travelled to Pakistan seeking medical attention, the first and last sight of the father he spent almost eleven years dreaming of and yearning for was of a body-bag. Ezzudin had gotten to know his father through the rare, heavily censored letters he received from him.
“You told me in your last letter, you’re coming to me, and you will never leave me again, Father,” said Ezzuddin while looking at the box of his father’s remains and crying loudly.”
Due to the mysterious nature of Abdul Latif’s death, his family intended to perform an independent autopsy in Yemen to determine the cause of his death. However, the United States kept Abdul Latif’s body for over three months after his death, causing his body to decompose to the extent that an autopsy would not be possible and Abdul Latif’s body had become an “unbearable sight,” as described by his brother.
Lawyer Mark Falkoff described in an Amnesty International Report some of the conditions faced by Latif and other inmates inside Guantanamo Bay:
“… They had been held in total isolation, they had been subjected repeatedly to stress positions, sleep deprivation, blaring music, and extremes of heat and cold during endless interrogations. Female interrogators smeared simulated menstrual blood onto the chests of some detainees and sexually taunted them, fully aware of the insult they were meting out to devout Muslims. They were denied basic medical care. They were broken down and psychologically tyrannized, kept in extreme isolation, threatened with rendition, interrogated at gunpoint and told that their families would be harmed if they refused to talk. They were also frequently prevented from engaging in their daily prayers—one of the five pillars of Islam—and forced to witness US soldiers intentionally mishandling the holy Koran.”
While imprisoned, Abdul Latif participated in hunger strikes to protest his treatment, during which he wrote the “Hunger Strike Poem”:
They are criminals, increasing their crimes.
They are criminals, claiming to be peace-loving.
They are criminals, torturing the hunger strikers.
They are artists of torture,
They are artists of pain and fatigue,
They are artists of insults and humiliation.
They are faithless — traitors and cowards –
They have surpassed devils with their criminal acts.
They do not respect the law,
They do not respect men,
They do not spare the elderly
They do not spare the baby-toothed child.
They leave us in prison for years, uncharged,
Because we are Muslims.
Where is the world to save us from torture?
Where is the world to save us from the fire and sadness?
Where is the world to save the hunger strikers?
But we are content, on the side of justice and right,
Worshipping the Almighty.
And our motto on this island is, salaam.