End 22 Years Of Injustice

8,000 Days of Guantánamo: On Dec. 6, Help Us Call For the Prison’s Closure Via Global Vigils and Our Photo Campaign

A promotional image marking 8,000 days of Guantánamo's existence on December 6, 2023.

If you can, please make a donation to support our work throughout the rest of 2023 and into 2024. If you can become a monthly sustainer, that will be particularly appreciated. Tick the box marked, "Make this a monthly donation," and insert the amount you wish to donate.

By Andy Worthington, November 24, 2023

I often say that it’s easier to get blood out of a stone than it is to get a single prisoner out of Guantánamo — by which I don’t mean the handful of men charged with crimes, but those who have never been charged with a crime, and who, moreover, have been unanimously approved for release by high-level U.S. government review processes.

Of the 30 men still held at Guantánamo, 16 are in this category, and throughout this year we’ve been highlighting their plight through coordinated vigils for the closure of Guantánamo that I initiated in February, with the support of friends and allies from groups and organizations including Amnesty International, Witness Against Torture, the World Can’t Wait and the U.K. Guantánamo Network, which I’m part of, and whose monthly vigils outside Parliament, which resumed in September 2022 after a hiatus of many years, gave me the inspiration to try to expand the vigils internationally.

The vigils take place on the first Wednesday of every month at locations across the U.S. and around the world, including London, Washington, D.C., New York, Mexico City, Detroit, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Cobleskill, NY, Raleigh, NC, Brussels and Copenhagen. See here for the report about, and photos from the most recent vigils on November 1.

The next vigils take place on Wednesday December 6, when, coincidentally, another horrendous milestone in Guantánamo’s history will also be marked: 8,000 unforgivably long days since the prison first opened, on January 11, 2002.

For the vigils, I’ve provided a poster showing these 16 men (see above), and a regularly updated additional poster showing how long they have been held since the U.S. authorities first decided that they no longer wanted to hold them. On December 6, as the poster below shows, they will have been held for between 439 days and 1,133 days — and, in three cases, for 5,066 days — since those decisions were taken.

This is an unforgivably long amount of time, and the delays have only been possible because the methods used to approve these men for release were purely administrative, and are therefore not legally binding, meaning that there is no mechanism whereby the U.S. government can be compelled to actually free them, and can delay as much as they want if they find it difficult, or even if they want to avoid antagonizing their Republican critics.

I hope you can make it along to one of the vigils (contact details below), and, if there isn’t one near you, you can always set up your own — although, if you do, please take a photo and send it to us.

If you can’t make it to a vigil, however, you can still get involved in calling for Guantánamo’s closure, because we’re marking 8,000 days of Guantánamo’s existence — as we do every 100 days — with a poster, and an associated and ongoing photo campaign, marking this shameful milestone, and calling on President Biden to close the prison.

We’d love to have as many of you as possible involved in marking this occasion, because 8,000 days is such a horribly long time for this uniquely and monstrously unjust prison to have been open.

At the start of this year, on January 11, marking the 21st anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo, 170 people sent in photos of themselves with that particular poster, and we’d love to try and beat that achievement for 8,000 days, to send a message to President Biden that he has just over a year of his presidency left, and that there is no justification for any further delays when it comes to — at the very least — freeing the 16 men approved for release as swiftly as possible, and doing whatever he can to move towards closing the prison before the end of 2024.

Please send photos to Close Guantánamo here.