Ola Torkelsson was allowed to photograph detainees through a slot in the steel door.
The prisoners gathered in a common room in prison to pray. Photo by Ola Torkelsson / Kontinent
Interview with Photojournalist Ola Torkelsson.
How did you get access?
We contacted The Guantanamo Base by the U.S. Military and sent a request. They organize tours for the press on a regular basis.
Where you regulated in what you could photograph in there?
Yes, the working circumstances was very regulated. The military guards tells you what is allright or not to photograph. But I guess just to show the uncomfortable environment tells a lot about the absurd reality for the prisoners who are detained in here.
Were your pictures censored?
The military looked through all my memory cards after a days work. And deleted the ones they presumed to sensitive to be shown for the public.
You are not allowed to show any prisoners face. Some areas or departments are also strictly prohibited to photograph.
Camp No, is one of these restricted areas were they detain the “high security inmates”, an area named for the answer you always receive when you ask about it´s existence, “No, it´s not existing”. Anyway, I managed to take some photographs at “Camp No” but those pictures were deleted directly .
Can you describe in words the content of any of these deleted images ?
A camp far away with buildings.
Did you have any contact with the prisoners?
No, not directly but we had (through a prisoner’s Attorney) received permission to interview a specific prisoner but the military said No. But when I was photographing a corridor inside one of the prison buildings, some of the interns tried to communicate with us and managed to shout out a message in Arabic.
- “The army # U.S. # not leave detainee in Guantánamo to take pray in Ramadan or to take anything .
( ” U.S. army does not let the inmates at Guantanamo pray during Ramadan or do anything “)
View the story “Prayers from Guantánamo” here…
- Guantanamo extra legal prison - Authorised was 12 years ago today. Out of 779 detainees, only seven have been convicted and sentenced .
- Currently 73 prisoners are on hunger strike, (according to the military at Guantánamo on 19th of July).
- 46 prisoners are so badly off that they are force-fed .
- 3 of the hunger strikers are in hospital
Ola Torkelsson also photographed the story about U.S. military drones - unmanned aircraft. View the story “Drones war USA” here…