On Saturday my colleague Ryan Reilly's long report on the history -- and future -- of the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay was published. As part of reporting the piece, I talked with former prisoner Omar Deghayes. The quotes didn't wind up in the piece, so I'm republishing some of them below. You can also check out his appearance on HuffPost Live last month here.
Shortly after the US began its bombing campaign against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan in 2001, Omar Deghayes fled to Pakistan -- and was handed over to the CIA.
Deghayes, a 43-year-old Libyan-born British resident, wound up spending six years in Guantanamo. He was never charged with or convicted of any crime, but it took strenuous pressure from United Kingdom authorities to win his release during the waning days of the Bush administration. Since then he has transformed himself into an anti-Guantanamo campaigner in the UK. He has mixed feelings about the camp's recently passed 11th anniversary.
"To an extent it's good because it does make people aware that Guantanamo still exists," Deghayes said.
But for Deghayes the anniversaries take on a more personal meaning than an excuse for speech making or press releases. He maintains that he was blinded in one eye by during a beating at Guantanamo. So whenever such an anniversary rolls around, "All this comes back to memory, the mistreatment there."
Obama, he said, has been "a real big disappointment to many of the human rights groups and people who care about justice."
"Look at the people who committed all the crimes before Obama. He said let's look forward and we don't want to bring justice. That's turning a blind eye," Deghayes said. "I don't think anybody can excuse that."