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24 Feb, 2009 11:58

Gitmo inmates still tortured

Although President Obama has vowed to shut down the infamous Guantanamo prison, things haven’t changed much and the detainees still complain of tortures and humiliation.

As time drags on, what’s happening inside the prison camp is described by many as chaos. Mass hunger strikes, severe depression and beatings – this has become the day-to-day reality for many of the detainees.

Some claim the situation is now worse than it has ever been.

“I don’t know if those hunger strikes are due to bad conditions, or due to incredible frustration on the part of the detainees who remain in detention. Some prisoners may have been hopeful that they would be released immediately when Obama took office, which obviously is not the case,” says Joanne Mariner, director of the counterterrorism program at Human Rights Watch.

Why do Obama and his administration need an entire year to put an end to the mess?

Some say the reasons are purely bureaucratic. Questions from how to charge some inmates to how to safely release others have created a long string of legal and security problems.

Others speculate that the reasons could be too much disapproval from America's existing political establishment when it comes to closing the prison camp.

About 800 detainees have been at Guantanamo since it was set up, approximately 250 still remain there.

Danny Schechter, independent film maker and news dissector from New York believes the process of shutting the prison camp down is taking too long:

“The fact that they can’t move more quickly to shut it down and do something about it is a sign of how difficult it is to make change. It’s one thing to say you’re going to do something, it’s another thing to do it.”

With bureaucratic protractions or political reasons behind the affair, it is now clear that Guantanamo is continuing to leave a shadow on America’s image.