Guantanamo Detainee Becomes Best-Selling Author, Condemns Torture from Prison Cell

Mohamedou Slahi is still incarcerated even though a federal judge ordered his release in 2010.


"I cannot believe that the majority of Americans want to finance the detention of innocent people," says Hina Shamsi, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union. She speaks on behalf of her client, Mohamedou Slahi, a current detainee at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay and the New York Times best-selling author of the recently released, Guantanamo Diary.

Guantanamo Diary is the first account written and published by a still-imprisoned Guantanamo inmate. Slahi finished writing the book in 2005, but it took six years and a team of lawyers to obtain approval for publication. To secure the U.S. government's permission to publish the book, more than 2,500 redactions were added to the manuscript, which remain blacked out throughout the book's text. 

The 400-page book details Slahi's harrowing experience since being captured by the U.S. government in 2002 on suspicion of aiding Al Qaeda. His story includes extraordinary rendition, physical and mental abuse, and the nightmarish legal limbo he remains in—Slahi is still incarcerated even though a federal judge ordered his release in 2010. The book debuted at no. 14 on the New York Times bestseller list.   

Shamsi sat down with Reason TV's Anthony L. Fisher to discuss the book, her client, and the moral and legal pitfalls of "enhanced interrogation techniques" and indefinite detention.

About 11 minutes. 

Produced by Amanda Winkler and Anthony L. Fisher. Camera by Jim Epstein and Dan Rogenstein.

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  1. You know who else wrote a best selling book from his prison cell?

    1. Obama? No wait that hasn’t happened yet.

    2. Henry David Thoreau?

    3. Jack Henry Abbott?

    4. Marco Pollo?

      1. He’s a chicken? Good to know…

    5. Niccol? Machiavelli?

    6. John of Patmos?

    7. Martin L King, Jr?

    8. Galileo Galilei?

    9. Deepak Chopra?

  2. Ah, yes, the ritual ‘down-sitting’ maneuver. I think this is a yoga position required for interviews.
    Anyhow, I hope the poor sot gets let out one of these days, since ‘closing Gito’ was one of Obo’s promises not long ago, right? Like, oh, 6-7 years ago?

  3. The smiling picture of him seems like an odd choice.

  4. Currently weighing my interest in reading it against my desire to not get on any gubmint lists. Any MORE gubmint lists, i should say.

  5. He should be released.

    I look forward to his sophomore effort, Tales from the Levant.

    1. Do you have real evidence backing up his story, or are you taking his word for it?

      1. I think you should reread my whole comment with the knowledge that many Gitmo detainees have returned to the fray. The answer is there.

  6. my neighbor’s step-sister makes $82 /hr on the laptop . She has been fired from work for 9 months but last month her pay was $19160 just working on the laptop for a few hours. go????? http://www.Jobs-Fashion.Com

  7. Obama already closed this down as he promised in 2008, right?

    1. Gee, I must have missed that. And I do try to keep up…

  8. Under Bush, alls you heard from the left was how awful Guantanamo was. Under Obama, they barely raise a peep. Under Bush, alls you heard from the left was how tyrannical and dangerous the Patriot Act was. Under Obama nothing. The list could go on for about a day.

    What I don’t get here is how they can continue to detain people after a federal judge rules they should be released. I don’t know, that isn’t really how checks and balances are supposed to work. Reading up on it, it seems the government won an appeal.

    Here’s my question – if Obama really cared or wanted to close Guantanamo, couldn’t the DOJ and his administration not, you know, fight tooth and nail in court to keep them under detention? Refuse to fight the case and I don’t think the courts would have much choice.

    Yet, there they were in 2010 appealing to keep a guy locked up who may have been part of Al Qaeada at some point, but doesn’t seem to have been very significant at any point in time or particularly active when arrested.

    1. Ask Andrew Jackson about judges and checks and balances.

      And yeah, the disingenuous, crooked fucker could push this through in a heart beat and chooses not to. Because if you start releasing detainees you start going down a path that leads to admitting that the GWOT is kind of bullshit, and then you’re gonna have a hard time justifying things like the TSA and Homeland Security and DoD grants to local police forces, and none of these fuckers want to see that happen.

  9. If his release has been ordered and the DoD hasn’t complied, then the secretary of Defense should be in jail for contempt of court.


  10. I guess I am a bad person, I don’t care what they do to these horrible people.

    1. Ditto.If they are that much trouble, just line them up and shoot them all.

  11. I make up to $90 an hour working from my home. My story is that I quit working at Walmart to work online and with a little effort I easily bring in around $40h to $86h Someone was good to me by sharing this link with me, so now i am hoping i could help someone else out there by sharing this link… Try it, you won’t regret it!….


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