In September 2004 Penguin asked me to produce a cover illustration for Lawless World
, a compelling account of how America turned its back on international law. The author - Philippe Sands - threw a spotlight on the abuse of detainees in Guantanamo Bay. Even then, it was old news: the first prisoners, arriving in January 2002, had been confined in exposed cages, sleeping on mats, deprived of sight, hearing and touch. More than five years later, despite repeated calls for its closure, nearly 400 men remain in detention without charge and without trial.
Amnesty International say that Camp Six, a new maximum security prison built at a cost of $37m has created "even harsher and apparently more permanent conditions of extreme isolation" which are "pushing people to the edge". In June 2006 three inmates hanged themselves, and this week a fourth - Abd al-Rahman al-Amiri - commited suicide. Michael Ratner, president of the US Center for Constitutional Rights, told the Associated Press the death was likely an act of desperation. "Five-and-a-half years of desperation with no legal way out."