President Joe Biden is facing new calls to close the U.S. military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, an enduring symbol of U.S. abuses in the “war on terror.” Since 2002, about 770 men and boys have been held at the prison, and only eight have been convicted of a crime. Three of the convictions were later overturned on appeal. Today the prison’s population is down to 40, and shortly after Biden’s inauguration, seven former prisoners penned an open letter to the new president pleading with him to finally close the facility. One of the seven authors was Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a Mauritanian man who was held without charge for 14 years, during which time he was repeatedly tortured, before his release in 2016. He says he also wrote a personal letter to Biden asking him to close the prison. “I really believe he’s a good man,” Slahi says. We also speak with Slahi’s lead defense attorney, Nancy Hollander, who says there is no justification for keeping “forever prisoners” at the facility. “If the political will is there, President Biden can get Guantánamo closed,” Hollander says.
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