Evin Prison and Guantanamo

U.S. Suffers By Comparison.

Here's a post I started in mid-December of last year. I wanted to show that while Iran's treatment of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal was .... What's a word that is two steps away from "evil"?[1] Because my point is that U.S. treatment of innocent prisoners[2] is only one step away. Besides being so close to each other on the evil scale, there are many other similarities between the American hikers and Guantanamo detainees. Both were in the wrong place at the wrong time and both were perceived enemies of the detaining state due to demographics - Americans for the hikers, Arab Muslims for the men in Gitmo. Iran HikersBoth were held for a time without access to a court, incommunicado and in oppressive conditions. I could go on.

And in fact, the Iranians holding Bauer and Fattal knew the situations were similar. Via Glenn Greenwald, who has written a great post on this subject, What media coverage omits about U.S. hikers released by Iran, here is Bauer speaking just after his return in New York:
In prison, every time we complained about our conditions, the guards would remind us of comparable conditions at Guantanamo Bay; they'd remind us of CIA prisons in other parts of the world; and conditions that Iranians and others experience in prisons in the U.S.

We do not believe that such human rights violation on the part of our government justify what has been done to us: not for a moment. However, we do believe that these actions on the part of the U.S. provide an excuse for other governments - including the government of Iran - to act in kind.
See coverage of the press conference at Democracy Now, and their extensive full coverage since the three hikers were captured.

However, it's not just that they are similar. U.S. detention of foreign nationals is worse than in Iran.[3] I wrote about this already, U.S. Detention Policy Is Messed Up, although there are still many examples to highlight. I'll get back to this in another post. Here's the unfinished one.

Two Hikers Still Held in Iran

Trial Pushed Back to February
December 16, 2010
Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, two of the three Americans captured by Iran near the Iraqi border, have been held in Evin Prison for over 500 days now. While they were permitted a brief phone call home over the Thanksgiving weekend, Bauer and Fattal are now allowed outside the cell they share for only 40 minutes a day.

Gitmo T-shirt
See my t-shirt idea from the previously linked post.
[That was it. I had lots of links to use though]

Free the Hikers with blog.
The Nation - US Iran Nuclear Deal Works.
The Nation - US Hikers Were Seized.
CNN Video
CNN Opinion
CNN Iran Hikers

[1] Candidates: atrocious, beastly, depraved, heinous, hideous, malevolent, malicious, malignant, nefarious, pernicious, repugnant, repulsive, revolting, ugly, vicious, vile, villainous, wicked, and just plain old wrong. More.

[2] Of course there are guilty people in Guantanamo, Bagram and other U.S. detention centers around the world. (Although, it would be nice to be able to use guilty in the legal sense - convicted of a crime) However, they are vastly outnumbered at Guantanamo, and probably other detention facilities going back to 2001, by innocent men. 779 people landed at Gitmo after being hog-tied for a flight across the Atlantic Ocean. There are 171 men left. That means about 580 people that the executive branch, all by itself, deemed were not "unlawful enemy combatants" and were released. (26 detainees won their habeas corpus petitions and were released. There have been only two people convicted in a military commission who were released after serving their time: David Hicks [plea deal transferred him to his homeland, Australia, where he is now free] and Salim Hamdan [pleaded not guilty, was convicted but sentenced to only five more months detention, he's now free in Yemen.] Ahmed Ghailani was transferred to a civilian court and convicted.) There has been no apology to any of these released men, but the only word that fits them is "innocent." That's what we call people who aren't convicted of a crime. In the Gitmo cases, these men weren't even charged with a crime.

[3] Iranian political prisoners usually fare worse than their U.S. counterparts - Iran is a brutal suppressor of domestic dissent. But the overall prison systems are, again, close to each other in institutionalizing injustice.