UPDATE: On September 10, shortly after our letter was delivered to Secretary Esper, Judge Royce Lamberth issued a devastating ruling denying Sharqawi Al Hajj access to independent medical care. Lamberth’s ruling downplayed Mr. Al Hajj’s suicide attempt, and ignored the fact that prisoners at Guantanamo are justifiably suspicious of prison’s medical staff. The ruling is available here.
Sharqawi Al Hajj is one of Guantanamo’s “Forever Prisoners”. He was taken into custody in 2002, tortured by the CIA and U.S. partner forces until 2004, then transferred to Guantanamo Bay, where he has spent the last 15 years. He has not been charged with a crime.
On August 19, Mr. Al Hajj attempted suicide by cutting his wrists with broken glass. He has threatened to harm himself again. He urgently needs help.
DRAD joined with a coalition of human rights, civil liberties, and faith-based organizations asking the Secretary of Defense to facilitate an immediate independent medical evaluation for Mr. Al Hajj.
Defending Rights & Dissent is guided by the Bill of Rights, which was adopted to limit the power of the state over individuals and to preserve basic human and individual rights for every person under U.S. jurisdiction or control, even in times of war or other national crises, and regardless of who holds elected power.
In 2015, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and the Defending Dissent Foundation agreed to merge to place both organizations and their respective supporters in an even stronger position to help restore constitutional rights eroded by executive agencies.