Jan. 6 defendants say they'd rather be in Guantanamo Bay than D.C. jail

Human rights groups have decried GITMO for its conditions and lengthy detentions without trials.

Updated: October 5, 2022 - 1:19pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

About 30 of the Jan. 6 defendants say that if conditions at the Washington, D.C., jail in which they are staying do not improve, they want to be transferred to the Guantanamo Bay detention camp – a U.S. military facility in Cuba that since 2002 has housed suspected terrorists connected to the 9/11 terror attacks.

"We hereby request to spend our precious and limited days, should the government continue to insist on holding us captive unconstitutionally as pre-trial detainees, to be transferred and reside at Guantanamo Bay," they wrote in the open letter.

The defendants described Guantanamo Bay as "a detention facility that actually provides nutritional meals, routine sunlight exposure, [and] top notch medical care."

The facility has also been decried by human rights groups for its conditions and lengthy detentions without trials.

They also said in the letter that more accurate terminology to describe the D.C facility would be an "'evisceration facility' of the body, mind and soul."

As they await trial, the defendants in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot are being held at D.C.'s Correctional Treatment Facility, which is part of the D.C. jail complex.

The "D.C. Jail" usually refers to the Central Detention Facility, which is the adjacent facility to the Correctional Treatment Facility.

D.C. Department of Corrections officials have said that, for the Jan. 6 defendants' own protection, they are held separately from the general population of the facility.

The defendants complaints also include food that they say is inadequate or inedible, nonfunctional plumbing, long delays in accessing mail, harassment and assaults by corrections officers and inadequate medical care, according to the blog site DCist.

Last year, a U.S. Marshals Service memo found the facility in which the Jan. 6 defendants were being held was up to federal standards while the adjacent facility was not. The defendants have claimed that their detention facility received a "frantic" last-minute cleaning as the marshals conducted their inspection.