AP: Two Former Prisoners Say They Prefer Gitmo to Homeland Tunisia

Brennan Linsley/AP
Brennan Linsley/AP

Two former Guantánamo Bay detainees from Tunisia have reportedly described their homeland as being worse than the detention center, saying they would prefer to go back.

“I was in a small prison and today I find myself in a larger one in Tunisia,” said Hedi Hammami, one of the former detainees, reports the Associated Press (AP).

The news outlet reveals that he lives in a rented room that he has described as being smaller than his cell at the Guantánamo facility, commonly known as Gitmo.

“I feel like I’m living in a larger sort of Guantánamo. I want to live free and with dignity, or to go back to a prison without ambiguity. I can’t stand this twilight life. When I am in prison, even in isolation, at least it’s clear in my head and I’m resigned to it. Where I can regain my freedom and dignity, that will be my country. That’s not the case for Tunisia,” Hammami also told AP.

The news outlet identifies the two former prisoners as Hedi Hammami and Salah Sassi. They reportedly abhor their homeland, citing constant police harassment.

“Maybe, as my friend Hedi says, Guantánamo is better than here. There at least it’s clear – I am in prison. But here, I’m in a big prison with people I can’t even deal with,” declared Sassi.

“Detained in 2001 in Pakistan, Salah Sassi was freed the same year [2010] as Hammami after the Defense Department concluded he was of limited intelligence value and posed little threat,” reports AP.

The U.S. military describes Hammami as an al-Qaeda associate, a charge that he denies. In 2010, the U.S. government liberated him without charge.

AP reports:

The two Tunisian former Guantánamo Bay detainees call their homeland an open-air prison and yearn for escape, even back to the U.S. detention center in Cuba. At least two other Tunisians freed from Guantánamo made their way to Syria, and another has seemingly vanished.

During a trip to Gitmo, Breitbart News found that detainees have frequent access to television, recreation, and even video games.

Moreover, most prisoners get exclusive use of a $750,000 soccer field, courtesy of the American taxpayer.

“Depending on compliance status, detainees do have access to a soccer field and a 30,000-item detainee inventory that offers approximately 20,500 books/magazines along with audio books, DVDs, CDs, and video games. We also circulate newspapers that we receive on a daily or weekly basis,” U.S. Navy Captain Chris Scholl, the spokesman for the Guantánamo Bay detention center, told Breitbart News.

Nevertheless, the defense attorneys for some of the worst detainees, those allegedly linked to the 9/11 attacks, argue that their clients face suffering and humiliation on a regular basis.

The two former Gitmo detainees from Tunisia say they prefer the conditions at the facility over their living arrangements inside their homeland.

Referring to the living quarters of one of the former prisoners, AP notes, “The room is subject to search at any moment and Hammami himself must check in with police daily. His work as an ambulance driver is tenuous, as is his living situation more generally.”

AP notes that Tunisia’s Interior Ministry, which oversees the country’s police, declined to comment after multiple requests.

Tunisia today “has returned to the police state that was prevalent under the former regime, with all the same ingredients of repression, injustice, and arbitrary actions, with the addition of an impossibility of countering these abuses with legal means,” Ban Amor who handles many of the Tunisian Gitmo cases told AP.

President Donald Trump’s administration is considering imprisoning newly captured jihadists at Gitmo.


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