As of January 2015, 122 detainees remain at Guantanamo. One of the longest-held prisoners is Mohamedou Ould Slahi who was taken there in July 2002. Slahi has admitted to joining Al Qaeda in the 1990s, when they were fighting communists in Afghanistan (a fight backed by the US) but Slahi said he had cut ties with the terrorist organization long before September 11. He has not been charged with a crime. In 2005, he started to keep a diary which chronicled his life at the Cuban detention facility. He described beatings, death threats, sexual humiliation and a mock execution. His diary, written in English, was seized and deemed classified but a US federal judge cleared it for release after a seven-year legal battle. The book has more than 2,500 redactions. It is being published in the UK and US on Tuesday, January 20.
Guantanamo was established in 1903 but became a prison in January 2002, after September 11, 2001. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said at the time, Guantanamo was established to “detain extraordinarily dangerous persons, to interrogate detainees in an optimal setting, and to prosecute detainees for war crimes.” Since 2002, 779 men have been brought to the prison camp.