The Road to Guantanamo is a feature-length docudrama about three British citizens who spent two years at the infamous Guantanamo Naval base located in Cuba. “The Tipton Three” as they came to be known were all from Tipton, West Midlands, England. In 2001 they were captured by the United States intelligence forces in Afghanistan on suspicion of terrorist activity. All three have denied any wrong doing and to this day have never been charged with anything related to terrorism. However In 2004 One of the Tipton Three, Shafiq Rasul filed a lawsuit against the Bush administration in a landmark turn of events in which claims of abuse and torture while at Guantanamo Bay were made. As a result many others came forward with claims of abuse at the hands of officials at Guantanamo Bay detention centre. The issue of tortuous happenings at the detention centre brought the FBI under a landslide of public scrutiny which led to a number of people getting fired and the shutdown of Guantanamo bay.
British Filmmaker Michael Winterbottom presents The Road to Guantanamo, a story based on the accounts of the people who had lived their for years. It is often debated whether the Tipton Three were ever really terrorosits and if so were any of the actions by the United States justified? In a 2010 BBC interview with Ruhal Ahmed and Shafiq they both admitted to attending a Taliban training camp because they were trapped in a province controlled by them. The motive to go there as claimed by them was “To see what was happening” and nothing else, however it is obvious the US government thought they were partaking in terrorist activity. The documentary which was first shown on Channel 4 back in 2006 was received well by the public and critics earning Michael Winterbottom the best director award at the 56th Berlin International film festival. It was not received without criticism however, as Winterbottoms’ acquiescence of the story told by Rasul has been highlighted in many newspapers such as the Daily Mail.
Interestingly after The road to Guantanamo was first shown at the Berlin Film festival the actors were detained by police as they landed back in the United KIngdom. They were quizzed about the Iraq war and whether the documentary they had worked on was to further the Islamic cause.