Dear CCR supporter,
I am so happy to share with you the news that CCR clients Tariq Ba Odah and Mohammed Al-Hamiri have been transferred out of Guantánamo, to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, along with seven other men.
As Mohammed once said to me as we sat across a table in Guantanamo’s Camp Echo, his leg shackled to the floor, “Nothing is impossible in life, as long as you live and breathe. I’ve never lost hope that one day I will be free.”
It has been a long time coming, but that day is finally here. After more than 14 years of detention without charge and more than six years since they were cleared for release, Mohammed and Tariq are free. Their lives can begin anew.
For Tariq especially, that means everything. To protest his imprisonment, Tariq began an unbroken hunger strike in 2007 that has continued for nine years. He has endured unspeakable suffering at the government’s hands as a result. Over the last year of his hunger strike, he hovered at around 74 pounds, segregated from the other prisoners, weakened and in pain, but unwilling to break his protest. He leaves Guantánamo to begin what will surely be a long, slow recovery. But he leaves on his own terms, protesting to the end, unbowed by the torment he endured.
Tariq and Mohammed are on their way home today because of your commitment to justice and support of CCR’s work in securing their freedom. My CCR colleagues Ibraham Qatabi and Aliya Hussain and I spoke to them last week. As we said our goodbyes, Tariq and Mohammed expressed deep gratitude to all of you who refused to forget their plight and who courageously shared their stories and dreams for a life of freedom.
Before he hung up, Mohammed said, “When people are released we think about those who remain. It’ll be hard not to think of the other brothers. God willing, this place will close with the help of your hands.”
Today, 80 men remain at Guantánamo, including many CCR clients. With your continued support, we will stand with them until the day that they, too, are free. Please check CCR’s website later today and watch and share a short video message about the news.
With gratitude and hope,