As President Barack Obama’s deadline to close GuantÃ¡namo looms, some occupants of the notorious detention centre would rather prolong their stay than be sent to maximum security prisons on the US mainland, according to camp officials.
Peter King, a Republican congressman who visited earlier this year and wants the prison kept open, said that “if there’s any scandal at GuantÃ¡namo, it is that the detainees are treated too well”.
The 221 remaining inmates receive between four and 20 hours outdoor recreation in the Caribbean sun and anything from weekly to almost unlimited access to DVDs and receive three newspapers (USA Today, plus one Egyptian and one Saudi Arabian title) twice a week. Every bed has an arrow pointing towards Mecca and every cell a prayer rug.
Adm Copeman said “generally speaking the rules are about the same” for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-confessed mastermind of the September 11 attacks, and the 15 other “high value detainees”, who are held at Camp 7, which is out of bounds to the media.
The detainees’ diet is exclusively Middle Eastern and halal, in observance of regional and religious sensitivities. Dates, olive oil and honey are provided daily and pita bread is baked on the premises. They drink the same bottled water as the prison’s staff and have the same access as other prisoners to 16,000 books and 1,600 magazines held at the library. More>>