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Press Release: Beyond Words: Silent Witness to Injustice

Shut Guantanamo | 08.01.2011 16:42 | Guantánamo | Terror War | World

Press release for London Guantanamo Campaign action to mark ninth anniversary of Guantanamo opening in 2002 on Tuesday 11 January

PRESS RELEASE – For immediate release


Photo opportunity: Activists dressed in orange jumpsuits and black hoods holding placards and banners calling for the closure of Guantánamo Bay.

The London Guantánamo Campaign [1] will hold a silent vigil to mark the 9th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo Bay on Tuesday, 11 January 2011, from 1-2pm, at the top of Trafalgar Square (opposite the National Gallery). All London MPs and MEPs have been invited. Green London Assembly Members Jenny Jones and Darren Johnson have pledged their support. Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford also pledged her support and stressed that as vice-chair of the European Parliament’s US delegation she will continue to press Washington for the complete closure of Guantánamo and to lobby in London and Brussels for European cooperation in resettlement of men who cannot return to their home countries for fear of torture.

Aisha Maniar, from the London Guantánamo Campaign, says:

“Nine years after the opening of the US military interrogation and detention camp at Guantánamo Bay, and almost one year beyond President Obama’s own deadline for its closure, [2] the London Guantánamo Campaign today calls upon the US President to take urgent action to honour his pledge to close the facility. He must ensure justice for the remaining prisoners through fair trials in civilian courts of law, or their release to countries where their safety and liberty can be ensured.

“The British Government must assist in the closure of the prison by following the example of other EU countries that have accepted prisoners cleared for release who cannot return to their country of origin due to fears for their safety. It must also step up its efforts to secure the freedom of British resident Shaker Aamer, who has been held by the US military for nine years without charge of trial. Shaker’s immediate and unconditional release and return to the UK is long overdue. [3]

“Nine years of torture and arbitrary detention at Guantánamo Bay and similar prisons have not made the world a safer place. Rather, governments who practice and condone torture and detention without charge or trial, citing national security as a justification for their illegal actions, undermine both the rule of law and fundamental human rights. President Obama’s failure to keep to his pledge to close Guantánamo, his new plans for the indefinite incarceration of prisoners without charge or trial, [4] and his approval of extrajudicial executions indicate that he shares his predecessor’s contempt for the rule of law.”


Saturday 8 January 2011


1. The London Guantánamo Campaign campaigns for justice for all prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, for the closure of this and other secret prisons, and an end to the practice of extraordinary rendition.
The London Guantánamo Campaign produced an EDM with Caroline Lucas MP (Green: Brighton Pavilion) in November 2010 stating our current demands of the British government:

2. President Obama signed a decree shortly after his inauguration in January 2009 ordering the closure of Guantánamo Bay within 12 months. Today, 174 prisoners remain at Guantánamo Bay, including former British residents Shaker Aamer and Ahmed Belbacha.

3. Shaker Aamer was cleared for release by the US military in 2007. He claims to have been tortured repeatedly during his time in US custody, on one occasion in the presence of a British intelligence agent. He has a British wife and four children living in Battersea, south London. He has never met his youngest son, who is now 8 years old. Both the Foreign Secretary and the Deputy Prime Minister recently raised Shaker’s case with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in person during separate visits to the US.

4. The first civilian trial of a Guantánamo prisoner, Ahmed Ghailani, recently took place on the US mainland. On November 17, 2010, a jury found him guilty of one count of conspiracy, but acquitted him of 284 other charges including all murder counts. Congress has since blocked the transfer of any more prisoners to the US mainland for trial before October 2011. This may be supplemented by an order to allow the indefinite detention without charge or trial of at least 50 of the remaining prisoners.

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