Letters from Guantánamo




Author: Laura Silvia Battaglia

Editing: Francesca Vaschetti

“Kill him if he’s guilty, kill him. So we stop hoping in vain.” The words of Amina al-Raeyee continue to echo in my ears, dry as a gunshot. This “sister courage” with her unbelievable story is forcing me to deal with the upheavals of history over the past twenty years. Her brother Salman has been detained in Guantanamo for thirteen years and is still waiting for release, something all of the families of the 112 Yemeni detainees at Guantanamo have been fruitlessly awaiting for many years. Her story is an amalgamation of the overlapping policies and strategic interests that gripped the country even before September 11, where private matters reveal the gray area where governments, corruption, espionage and counter-espionage, terrorism, poverty, and ambition all meet. Her story is also a touchstone for young people thirsting for redemption and social justice, finding a higher ideal in Islam while reinvigorating the political dimension. On the other hand, few have fought for the closure of Guantánamo Bay, the most untouchable extraordinary prison in the world. Yet ISIS’s hatred arose from there.

To those who ask me why I chose now to write this book about Guantánamo, with its exclusive images of letters that prisoners have sent their families from the detention facility, the answer is easy: we are still feeling the repercussions of some of our recent history, and aspects of that history are tied to a certain place. That place is Gitmo.


Journalist Laura Silvia Battaglia’s long form investigation, based on unpublished documents, explores the fate of the last inmates at the Guantánamo Bay maximum security prison. An ebook published by Il Reportage for the Zazie series, edited by Maria Camilla Brunetti.

Text, photos and videos: Laura Silvia Battaglia

Narration:  Maria Camilla Brunetti

Video editing: Valentina