The BBC recently arranged a meeting between Brandon Neely, a former Guantanamo Bay guard, and two former Guantanamo detainees, Shafiq Rasul and Ruhal Ahmed. Both Rasul and Ahmed were released from Guantanamo in 2004 after being detained there for two years. Back then, Ahmed, Rasul and Neely were all 22 years old.
Neely served as an officer at Guantanamo for 6 months before leaving to serve in Iraq. Having quit the army in 2005, Neely admits that it was only after he left the military that he began questioning the government’s claim that prisoners at Guantanamo constituted the “worst of the worst”.
The decision to meet came about as a result of Facebook, which Neely used in order to get in contact with Rasul and Ahmed early last year. Upon receiving a message of apology from Neely, Ahmed explains: “At first I couldn’t believe it. Getting a message from an ex-guard saying that what happened to us in Guantanamo was wrong was surprising more than anything.”