Mohamedou Ould Slahi was born in a small town in Mauritania in 1970. He won a scholarship to attend college in Germany and worked there for several years as an engineer. He returned to Mauritania in 2000. The following year, at the behest of the United States, he was detained by Mauritanian authorities and rendered to a prison in Jordan; later he was rendered again, first to Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, and finally, on 5 August 2002, to the US prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he was subjected to severe torture. In 2010, a federal judge ordered him immediately released, but the government appealed that decision. He was cleared and released on 16 October 2016, and repatriated to his native country of Mauritania. No charges were filed against him during or after this ordeal. Larry Siems is a writer and human rights activist and for many years directed the Freedom to Write Program at PEN American Center. He is the author of The Torture Report: What the Documents Say about America's Post-9/11 Torture Program. He lives in New York.
A harrowing account of [Mohamedou Ould Slahi's] detention, interrogation, and abuse . . . One of the most stubborn, deliberate and cruel Guantanamo interrogations on record * * Slate * * Slahi's book offers a reminders that the struggles we face in these difficult times involve real individuals, not faceless creatures who are to be characterised as members as one or other hated group. That he has resorted to words, the mightiest of weapons, even as his incarceration continues, makes his experience all the more relevant today * * Financial Times * * A sobering, often chilling, read. Slahi's story deserves to be widely read * * Independent * * This is a necessary book. It reminds us that the evil we're fighting can be found in ourselves as well as our enemies * * Daily Telegraph * * This Guantanamo detainee's harrowing memoir is a tremendous achievement - and a grave warning against ignoring the rule of law * * Observer * * Heartbreaking . . . there has never been a book quite like this . . . extraordinary and overwhelming * * New Statesman * * The work is a kind of dark masterpiece, a sometimes unbearable epic of pain, anguish and bitter humour * * New York Times * * Unnerving yet ultimately magnificent . . . there is something special about Guantanamo Diary that lifts it from human rights polemic to the realm of literary magic * * Sunday Times * * An extraordinary account . . . the global war on terror has found in a Mauritanian captive its true and complete witness * * Guardian * * A vision of hell, beyond Orwell, beyond Kafka -- JOHN LE CARRE