I went to watch “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantanamo” last night, accompanied of a Q&A with co-director Andy Worthington, and former Guantanamo detainees Omar Deghayes and Moazzam Begg (whose stories are covered in the film).
The film provides a highly informative insight into how Guantanamo and the other secret prisons came about, and how innocent people came to be locked up there. I`d recommend it for Amnesty supporters who would like to find out more, but particularly as a tool for engaging the public, and explaining to them that Guantanamo has not made us safer, and that many of those held there are totally innocent.
During the Q&A Omar and Moazzam provided a particularly moving indictment of “interrogation”, and the harm it can do. All three speakers were able to elaborate on the British involvement in rendition and interrogation, and the legal action currently being taken against the British Intelligence Services (apparently our legal system has offered a better route to achieve this than the US). The latest good news is that the Court of Appeal has denied the BIS the right to use secret evidence in it`s defence – the first time such evidence would have been allowed in a civil case.
There are actions ready to be put together involving letters being sent to MPs and the foreign secretary, but obviously we`ll need to wait till at least tomorrow to find out who is occupying those offices – I`ll post again as soon as actions are ready.
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There are two items of note from the Amnesty Blog Project, the first I am a little late in posting so apologies.
A Judge in Washington has ruled that five Algerian men who have been at the camp for six years are to be released because there is no legal basis for their detention. He has told the US government not to appeal his decision. So good news! This will have huge implications for the continuing detentions without trial as there are 200 more habeus corpus petitions awaiting.
On the other side there are three prisoners who remain and have spent some time in Britain. One of these men is Binyam Mohammed. He is a Ethiopian National who lived in Britain for seven years. He was unlawfully arrested in Pakistan in 2002 and transferred to Guantanamo by the US authorities. He was charged this year with terror related offences but the defendant states that these are based on statements he made after being tortured. The current situation is that Binyam is close to total physical and mental breakdown. His lawyer says that he is suicidal and needs to be moved to a less oppressive part of the complex.
He and two others (Shaker Abdur-Rameen Aamer & Ahmed Belbacha) are part of the annual Greetings Card Campaign. Please send a card of solidarity. Details are to be found here.
Amnesty International will be taking part in a demonstration outside 10 Downing Street tomorrow (Wednesday 26th) at 11.30am-1pm. They have joined forces with the likes of Oxfam, Christian Aid, Muslim Aid and Global Witness to call on Gordon Brown to take swift action for the sake of civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They are calling for more peacekeepers to be deployed within days or weeks, not months.
There is a concern that rapes and killings are still taking place in the region of Kivu in the eastern region of DRC. This of course has had a major impact on women and children in the region.
At midday they will all be holding clocks up in the air beside a specially created large clock to emphasis that time is running out. If you are in London tomorrow and are able to take part, don’t forget to take a clock with you.
For those who can’t make it to the demo there is an action you can take online.
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