Slahi is a Muslim originally from Mauritius, but lived for stints in Germany in Canada. While in Canada, the police followed him around at the US' request. The Americans were convinced he was part of the Millenium plot to bomb LAX. Slahi decides Canada is not the place for him and returns home where he is asked to turn himself in. Since he believed he had nothing to hide, Slahi dutifully turned himself in and the start of his horrific 14-year journey began. Again, acting on behalf of the Americans, his own country questions him and his involvement with Al Qaeda. Slahi doesn't give them much because there's not much to give them. His government believes him, but the American pull is bigger and he gets transferred to Jordan. Jordan is where torture begins for Slahi, but those officers also find that there isn't much Slahi is giving them and that's when he gets transferred to Guantánamo Bay.
This is where the real torture starts. In this redacted version of Slahi's journal, it's surprising that the American government allows the stories of Slahi's torture to reach the public. Slahi was beat, forced to stay away, forced to stand for hours, made to listen to heavy metal music on repeat, put in very cold conditions and then doused with water, etc. Eventually and not surprisingly Slahi breaks and tells his captors what they want to hear. His life gets easier but he isn't allowed to leave.
At the end of the book, Slahi is still in prison and he remains there until 2016. All for knowing the wrong people. If this book came out before the Abu Ghraid scandal, it would have been shocking. That scandal desensitized us to what American imprisonment of terrorists involves. It's still surprising, and pretty depressing to me, that the world superpower would resort to this. I feel bad for Slahi and his family and while I'm glad he's out now, it's far too late. It also begs the question, who else is in that jail that is innocent and just rotting there?
First Line: "⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛, July ⬛, 2002, 10 p.m."