BookBrowse Reviews My Guantanamo Diary by Mahvish Khan

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My Guantanamo Diary

The Detainees and the Stories They Told Me

by Mahvish Khan

My Guantanamo Diary
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2008, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2009, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Lesley Marshall

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A female lawyer reports from the military prison at Guantanamo Bay

In My Guantanamo Diary, author Mahvish Rukhsana Khan, daughter of Afghan immigrants, takes the reader into the lives of the detainees of Guantanamo Bay. As an interpreter and part of the law team for the detainees, the author's point of view is one of a fact finder, but as she speaks and gets to know the prisoners, it turns into one of sympathetic listener, confidant and friend.

Habeas corpus is the law under which detainees can petition for relief of unlawful imprisonment. The legal teams that represent the prisoners are referred to in the book as habeas counsel. The habeas counsel encountered many hurdles in gaining access and time to defend their clients. On occasion, they were made to stand and wait outside in the full sun for up to two hours before being allowed in to talk with ...

Habeas corpus (Latin for "you may have the body"), also known as "The Great Writ", is a law that requires a person detained by authorities to be brought to a court of law so that the legality of his detention can be examined. The name is taken from the opening words of the writ (law) in medieval times.  The Habeas Corpus Act was enshrined in British law by Parliament in 1679 but is thought to have been in common law for many years before, possibly as far back as the pre-Norman conquest Anglo-Saxon era.  It's original use was as a writ to bring a prisoner into court to testify in a trial.  What began as a weapon for the king and courts now offers protection to the individual against arbitrary detention by the state.

The right to petition for a writ of habeas corpus is one of ...

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