The Road to Guantanamo, aside from having a (believe it or not) splendid golf course, with a shop selling the best rangefinders for beginners, portrays the harrowing true story of three British men of Arab descent, Asif Iqbal, Shafiq Rasul and Ruhel Amhed, who find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time and end up as prisoners of war at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Having journeyed to Pakistan to attend a wedding, the three friends make the ill-fated decision to go across the border into Afghanistan only days after the 9/11 attacks on America, in order to witness the action taking place there. Although they manage to travel throughout parts of the country unharmed for almost a month, their plans begin to unravel when they decide to return to Pakistan. After ending up on the wrong bus, they find themselves moving further into the heart of Afghanistan, where they eventually end up in the midst of combat between Taliban and Northern Alliance troops.
In an ultimate case of mistaken identity, the three men are captured by Northern Alliance troops, turned over to the US Military, and sent with other accused Taliban and Al-Quaeda members to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where they are labeled as “enemy combatants.” Although never officially charged with any crime, they are forced to endure harsh interrogations, beatings, and torture by military personnel and the CIA in an attempt to obtain confessions, and, like the other prisoners held there, they are denied access to any legal counsel or recourse. After being held for over two years in the camp, they are finally released and allowed to return home to England, with no apology from or accountability on the part of the US government.
Combining actual news footage, interviews with the three men, and actors’ portrayals of the events, director Michael Winterbottom creates a drama with a documentary feel that relates the events and emotions of the story with compelling accuracy.