01/11/2012 07:53 am ET

Guantanamo Bay Anniversary: Former Detainee Tells Of Torture, Mistreatment

Ten years after the first prisoners arrived at Guantanamo Bay, the United States is observing a somber anniversary. In the video above, Democracy Now! interviews Omar Deghayes, a former detainee, who describes his horrifying experiences behind bars.

Deghayes spent nearly 6 years of his life in the prison. He told The Guardian how he was severely tortured, and lost sight in one eye after a guard at Guantanamo pushed his fingers inside his eyes.

Deghayes, originally from Libya, was captured in Pakistan in 2002, where he lived with his wife and baby. He was with his family the day he was picked up. Chained and with his head covered, Mr. Deghayes was sent to Bagram Prison -- the same facility that Afghanistan's president Hamid Karzai recently demanded to be handed over from U.S. to Afghan control. From Bagram, Deghayes was transferred to Guantanamo.

In an interview with Democracy Now!, Omar Deghayes talks about the conditions inside Guantanamo:

People are locked up in isolation camps. They are put through such mistreatment that many people have, we heard, died. And people lost their hands, lost their eyes, lost their limbs. [...] People were -- where we were -- subjected to beatings, fear every day, daily fear, and all sorts of mistreatment, without being convicted of any crime, which is -- which is the most unacceptable thing.

779 prisoners have been held at Guantanamo since 2002. 600 of them have been released, yet dozens remain detained. "I wonder if the U.S. government wants to keep us here forever," Gitmo detainee Suleiman al-Nahdi recently wrote in a letter, the Associated Press reports.

Read or watch the full interview with Omar Deghayes at Democracy Now!



Below, see US military-reviewed photos from inside Guantanamo Bay:

Inside Guantanamo Bay