Guantanamo North

Last week marked the five-year anniversary of the US-run detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, with protests worldwide, but generating fewer headlines is a mini-Guantanamo to our north, a "prison within a prison" at Canada's Millhaven Penitentiary near Kingston, Ontario. Dubbed "Guantanamo North," this six-inmate, maximum-security trailer was built last March to house suspected terrorists held on security certificates (a method by which the Canadian government can indefinitely detain foreign nationals it deems a security threat). Three (or four, according to some reports) men are currently held there without charge, all Arab nationals.

"These men have been detained without conviction for 5 or 6 years," said Member of Parliament Bill Siksay. "The indefinite detention is unacceptable in Canada."

But the fact that it exists demonstrates Ottawa's commitment to the policy of unending imprisonment without official charges.

"The federal government is further committing itself to a policy that violates fundamental human rights, a policy, we need to remind ourselves, that has been condemned by Amnesty International and United Nations committees," says James Clancy of the National Union of Public and General Employees, the union representing prison workers. "The construction of this prison tells us that there is a long-term plan to continue these violations, regardless of the growing public rejection of this policy."

Three prisoners are now on a hunger strike to call attention to their detention, including Mahammad Mahjoub, who yesterday marked 55 days without food.

(Thanks, Tom.)

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