Friday, August 08, 2003

Guantanamo inmate 'wants to stay'

From the BBC, we learn the following:

A Russian citizen held at the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has said he is afraid to return home because prison conditions there are far worse.

"I don't think there is even a sanatorium in Russia that would compare to this," Ayrat Vakhitov said in a letter to his mother published by Russia's Gazeta newspaper.

"Nobody is being beaten or humiliated," he wrote.

The mothers of Mr Vakhitov from Tatarstan and Rasul Kudayev from Kabarda-Balkaria strongly oppose the extradition of their sons to Russia, reports Itar-Tass news agency.

"I fear the Russian prisons and the Russian courts," Mr Vakhitov's mother Amina said. ... But while the Russians say they are happy with their conditions, human rights groups have denounced them as unacceptable.

One would think the prisoners themselves would be best placed to know whether their conditions are "unacceptable" or not. This story certainly gives a very different perspective on things than the usual "Guantanamo as Death Camp" nonsense we are usually fed by the major news organizations, not least of all, by this same BBC.