Protesters gathered outside Downing Street on Thursday, 24th July, to hold a 'Birthday Party' for Britain's last Guantamo Detainee, Binyam Mohamed [Reports and pics 1 | 2 | 3]. The event was the culmination of a week long vigil which took place outside the US Embassy.
Previous reports: Binyam faces death penalty | Brown urged to act | Binyam sues British Govt. | New report details torture | Reprieve: 'Bring Binyam back' | Guantanamo's last Londoner
Previous actions: London: 1 | 2 | 3 | Sheffield | Nottingham
Binyam Mohamed is a 29-year old Ethiopian national who came to the UK in 1994 as an asylum seeker. He lived and worked in west London for over 7 years. While travelling in South Asia in 2002, Binyam was kidnapped in Pakistan and handed over by the Pakistani military, who were selling foreign nationals at the time for $5000, to the American military, in whose hands he has been ever since. A victim of the “extraordinary rendition” programme, Binyam was taken to Morocco for 18 months where he was tortured horrendously, including having a scalpel used to make incisions on his penis to force confessions from him. He was then “rendered” to the notorious “Dark Prison” in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he was held for several months before being transferred to Guantánamo Bay in September 2004 where he has been held ever since.
Binyam, who faces a military tribunal at Guantanamo, is reported to be suicidal and on a hunger strike, after being left to his fate by the British state. His military counsel, Lieutenant-Colonel Yvonne Bradley has said: "I cannot pretend that the US military commissions are fair, but how can we possibly hope to help Mr Mohamed if his own Government leaves him to his fate?"
Throughout this year, a number of actions have taken place calling for justice for Binyam.
"Before the intervention of your government to help me, I was more resigned to my fate, to be held forever without a fair trial. When your government intervened I had hope. But it has been a cruel hope. Nine months later I am still here, no closer to home, still in this terrible prison."
When I learned that my Moroccan torturers were using information supplied by British intelligence, I felt deeply betrayed. When I learned that your government’s lawyers (the Treasury Solicitors) had told my lawyers they had no duty to help prove my innocence, or even that I had been tortured, I felt betrayed again.