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Benedict Cumberbatch says he plans to call on Joe Biden to close Guantanamo Bay after studying the prison for his latest movie “The Mauritanian.”
The actor produced the drama and portrays Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch. “The Mauritanian” is based on the memoir by real-life Guantanamo Bay prisoner Mohamedou Ould Slahi, who was suspected of organizing the 9/11 attacks and spent 14 years at the detention center without charge until he was ultimately released in 2016.
Speaking to The Independent, Cumberbatch explained America’s controversial relationship with Guantanamo Bay in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, ultimately arguing that he feels it’s beyond time to close down the facility.
“It was a global act of terror on an ideal – an ideal [that] lives geopolitically in many parts of the world. And of course, it’s more acute – most acute in New York, in the intelligence services, who feared that there was going to be another attack,” he said of the political climate in 2001. “That the water was poisoned, the air was poisoned. Just so much fear.”
Benedict Cumberbatch said he plans to plead with President Joe Biden to close down Guantanamo Bay.
(The Associated Press)
The “Sherlock” actor conceded that the U.S. intelligence services had a great deal of pressure at the time to try and stop a follow-up attack, which the facility played a key role in relieving. However, more than two decades later, he wants the U.S. government to reexamine its place.
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“But we are, I think, far enough away now from that reaction, that understandable emotional reaction, to question its ongoing validity. And I feel quite strongly that Guantánamo doesn’t have a place in our world.”
When asked if he hopes President Biden will make good on his promise to close the prison following a review process that began under the Obama administration, Cumberbatch didn’t mince words.
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“Hoping? I’m going to plead with the guy,” he said. “It is a huge spend. It’s the most expensive prison on earth. And what are the results? Where are the prosecutions? That’s just being really brutally economic about it, it just doesn’t work. And then you have the human rights issue. It’s an atrocious own goal, I think for the free world to be incarcerating people through extraordinary rendition, torturing them and extracting confessions they think are then usable in prosecution… it is a really dangerous, unnecessary and ineffectual place, I think, and enough people have suffered there.”
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The U.S. opened the detention center in January 2002 to hold people suspected of ties to al-Qaida and the Taliban. It became a source of international criticism over the mistreatment of prisoners and the prolonged imprisonment of people, like Slahi, without charge.
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