Guantánamo Diary

Mohamedou Ould SlahiEdited by Larry Siems

‘You know that I know that you know that I have done nothing,’ I said. ‘You’re holding me because your country is strong enough to be unjust.’
Guantánamo Diary by Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Larry Siems (Paperback ISBN 9781782112853) book cover

Available as Paperback, eBook

An unprecedented international publishing event: the first and only diary written by a still-imprisoned Guantánamo detainee.

THE SUNDAY TIMES and NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER‘A kind of dark masterpiece’ THE NEW YORK TIMES‘There has never been a book quite like this’ NEW STATESMANIn 2002, Mohamedou Ould Slahi was imprisoned at the detainee camp in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. In 2016, having never been charged with any crime, he has finally been approved for release.In those fourteen years in captivity he suffered unspeakable abuse - sexual assault, threats to his family and months of sensory deprivation, his captors torturing him with the personal approval of the US Secretary of Defense - and he produced this remarkable document, the only first-hand account of a Guantanamo Detainee.His diary is not merely a vivid record of a miscarriage of justice, but a deeply personal memoir - terrifying, darkly humorous, and surprisingly gracious. It is an extraordinary and moving story of human perseverance stretched to its limits, but never broken.

“A vision of hell, beyond Orwell, beyond Kafka”
John Le CarrÉ

See more reviews

“The work is a kind of dark masterpiece, a sometimes unbearable epic of pain, anguish and bitter humour that the Dostoyevsky of The House of the Dead would have recognized and embraced”
new York Times

“A sobering, often chilling, read. Slahi’s story deserves to be widely read”

“Un-nerving yet ultimately magnificent … there is something special about Guantánamo Diary that lifts it from human-rights polemic to the realm of literary magic”
sunday Times

“A harrowing account of [Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s] detention, interrogation, and abuse … One of the most stubborn, deliberate and cruel Guantánamo interrogations on record”

Mohamedou Ould SlahiEdited by Larry Siems

Mohamedou Ould Slahi was born in Mauritania in 1970. He earned a scholarship to study engineering in Germany when he was 18, and lived and worked in Germany and briefly in Canada before returning to Mauritania in 2000. He has been detained in Guantánamo Bay since August 2002.

Larry Siems directed the Freedom to Write and International Programs at PEN American Center, where he led PEN’s ongoing efforts to defend writers facing persecution around the world and protect freedom of expression in the US. He left at the end of 2013 to concentrate on editing Slahi’s memoir. He is the author of The Torture Report and is a poet and non-fiction writer.

Watch the Guardian’s exclusive animated documentary about Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s memoir, Guantánamo Diary.