The Save Omar Campaign will join protesters from the Birmingham Guantanamo Campaign, Manchester Guantanamo, Belmarsh Campaign, among others, in central London on Saturday January 21 2006. Assembling at 12 noon in Tothill Street (nearest tube St James' Park), the march will go via Downing Street to the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square.
Omar Deghayes, from Saltdean near Brighton, is one of at least nine British residents among the 500 detainees at the nightmarish political prison camp, where international law apparently does not apply and all are presumed guilty without trial.
Public protest eventually resulted in the release, without charge, of nine British citizens including Moazzem Begg and Feroz Abbasi. They revealed, on release, that they had been tortured - and Omar and the others (Binyam Mohammed, Shaker Aamer, Jamal Kiyemba, Bisher Al-Rawi, Jamal El Banna, Ahmed Errachidi, Ahmed Ben Bacha and Abdulnour Sameur) are enduring the same treatment from the forces allegedly defending "democracy" and "freedom".
The British Government, under international laws, has a clear responsibility to the British residents who, as refugees, were given protection by the state. However, to date the Government has refused to act on their behalf as they are not British citizens.
It is absolutely against international law to send them back - if they are ever released! - to countries where they risk further torture. The country that has given them asylum from oppression - Britain - is now denying them their legal rights.
Time is running out. In August this year, over 200 detainees in Guantanamo Bay joined a hunger strike. 21 of them are being force-fed through the nose, sedated and shackled by their arms and legs. They ask only for justice - to be tried or set free.
Omar Deghayes - the background
Omar Deghayes, 35, came to the UK with his mother, sister and brother, Taher, from Libya in 1986, six years after his father, Amer - a prominent figure in Libyan public life who pioneered trade unions - was assassinated by Colonel Muammar Gadaffi’s regime.
He grew up in Brighton, where his mother, Zohra Zewawi and sister still live. He went to a private school and developed a passion for football. Omar went on to study law at Wolverhampton University and began his Legal Practice Course at Huddersfield University in 1998, but had yet to complete it when he went to Afghanistan. He was a student member of the Law Society.
Omar has held refugee status in the UK since 1987 and the remainder of his family are British citizens. Omar was a devout Muslim, propagating a peaceful and tolerant Islam. His family say he had given sermons in a mosque condemning terrorism and violence in the name of Islam. He also used to visit and help Muslims in local prisons in Sussex on the request of the local police.
Omar travelled to Afghanistan in 2001 to judge the Taliban regime and the first Islamic society of its kind for himself. He married an Afghan woman there and they have a child, Suleiman, who is now four years old. When war broke out, Omar moved his family to Pakistan, fearing for their safety. There he was arrested and transferred to Bagram, which he describes as reminiscent of a Nazi prison camp. He says that there he became so ill he was barely able to eat for 40 days. He was punished for talking to another prisoner by being handcuffed with his hands above his head.
In March 2004 in Guantánamo he was blinded in one eye by soldiers as they put down protests by prisoners who objected to "sexual assaults" - hands being placed up their rectums as part of a search. He was first sprayed with mace and then a finger was plunged into his eye, which had been damaged since childhood.
Omar also alleges that a soldier smeared faeces on his face and that two soldiers kicked and punched him.
Since being held in Guantanamo, Omar has been twice visited by security agents from Libya. They say that they were made aware of his 'links to the opposition' and his father's assasination by the British and American authorities. They threatened to kill him if he is returned to Libya, which is likely in the event that the British government fails to act on his behalf.