According to Bill Quigley, from the Center for Constitutional Rights, writing in the Huffington Post:
This complete isolation is torture.
John McCain said so, after the North Vietnamese kept him in isolation for 2 years. Reporter Terry Anderson, who survived seven years as a hostage of held by anti-U.S. fighters in Lebanon in the 1980s also says isolation was the worst aspect of his ordeal, a kind of torture. U.S. prisons routinely consign inmates to prolonged, punitive solitary isolation, despite the reality that many correctional professionals believe this does little to reduce uncontrolled violence, according to a recent New Yorker article by Dr. Atul Gawande.
But at least those prisoners have been convicted of some crime. Hashmi is still "presumed innocent" under the Constitution, but, like the unfortunate inmates of Guantanamo, most of them there though bad luck and mistake, the government has been doing what it wished with him. Not surprisingly, his U.S. friends and relatives believe he is suffering this treatment because he is a foreign-born Muslim. They have set up a website with much more at Free Farhad. The trial next week will test the question whether a person subjected to this kind of pretrial treatment can get a hearing in court.
Dr. Gawande (in the article cited above) reached a chilling conclusion about our country's propensity to torture its own prisoners by keeping them in solitary.
Once these practices are normalized, they are hard to stop ... or even limit.
(Photo: Bud Korotzer / NLN )