“Five Years” examines the fate of the German Guantanamo prisoner Murat Kurnaz. Director Stefan Schaller’s film exposes viewers to the horrific abuse of human rights endured by camp detainees. Jochen Kürten reports
Cinema has always tended to embroil itself in current politics. While there is no standard formula for the genre of political cinema, the success of such films often comes down to the quality of the script and the ability and sensitivity of the director. The German film “5 Jahre Leben” (“Five Years”) is one triumphant example.
The background to the film is the case of Turkish-German Murat Kurnaz. Shortly after the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001, Kurnaz was captured in Pakistan and taken to the notorious Guantanamo detention camp where he was imprisoned for five years.
Former Guant_namo detainee Murat Kurnaz launched his powerful book ‘Five Years of My Life: an Innocent Man in Guant_namo’ at an Amnesty International event in the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival last week in Belfast. Readings from the book were followed by a question and answer session chaired by Amnesty International programme director, Patrick Corrigan. Patrick Corrigan said: “Murat Kurnaz has a powerful story to tell: illegal detention, prisoner abuse, solitary confinement in Guant_namo Bay. His personal story is the story of the so-called _war on terror’of the last seven years. It is one of the compelling stories of our time.” Murat Kurnaz was born in Bremen, Germany, in 1982, into a family of Turkish immigrants. After his marriage in 2001, Murat Kurnaz became an increasingly devout Muslim. Less than a month after the 11 September 2001 attacks in the USA, he went to Pakistan, telling his mother he wanted to “see and live the Qur’an”. Muslim Weekly->http://themuslimweekly.com/newsdetails/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=F47FA263E07453001431D3AB&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=UK%20News [Concord Monitor->http://www.concordmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080518/ENTERTAINMENT01/805180336
A Turkish citizen born and raised in Germany, Murat Kurnaz was only 19 when he was arrested without explanation in Pakistan in October 2001. Handed over to the US, he spent the next 1,600 days enduring the brutal life of a prisoner at Guantanamo with its various forms of torture, before being released without explanation or apology in August 2006. Here he describes the early days in his cage in Camp X-Ray, Guantanamo Bay