Thursday, December 13, 2012

On Friday 11th January 2013… All Roads Lead to Guantánamo Bay: How Can You Get Involved?

It is now less than one month until the 11th anniversary of Guantánamo Bay on 11 January 2013 and the London Guantánamo Campaign’s “All Roads Lead to Guantánamo” day of action. 166 prisoners remain there, almost entirely without charge or trial after a decade. In his first term in office, President Obama has failed to live up to the principles of freedom, justice and human rights he claims to espouse. The responsibility thus falls on the shoulders of civil society – us – to take action.

There are lots of ways in which you can get involved in this day of action from ALL OVER THE WORLD. For the past 11 years, the US and other governments have had plenty of excuses for inaction, what’s YOURS?

1 – Join our educational tours retracing the journeys of five prisoners to Guantánamo Bay: some who remain, some who have died, and some who were never near Afghanistan in the first place. The purpose of the tours is to raise awareness. We would especially appreciate the involvement of people who can help to provide live streaming of the tours, and provide updates on the tours as they progress through videos, pictures, audio, text comments, etc. relayed via e-mail/SMS/Twitter/Facebook and Tumblr.  For more information on the tours and to join, please e-mail us: For more details:!/2012/11/your-invitation-to-join-us-to-mark-11.html

2 – As part of our vigil outside the US Embassy at 6-8pm in the evening: we will be reading out YOUR messages to President Obama about Guantánamo Bay. Please send us your short messages: 50 words maximum (Tweet/SMS length) by e-mail: on our Facebook Page (below) or Twitter (@allroadsleadg11) 

3 – Please help raise awareness of this event and anniversary: invite your friends and family to join.
Watch and share our promo video:

You can follow the news and action from now and on the day (live) on:
Twitter: @allroadsleadg11
LGC blog:

We anticipate the action on the day to be educational and interactive, so we look forward to you staying tuned to our updates on the various tours, news on prisoners, facts about Guantánamo Bay and what you can do, as well as your feedback. Feel free to share any relevant information – from around the globe - with us too!

 4 – If you can only attend the vigil we are organising outside the US Embassy in the evening, we would appreciate help with:

-          Holding up banners
-          Stewarding
-          Reading out messages and the names of current prisoners
-          General organisation

5 – The London Guantánamo Campaign is an entirely volunteer organisation. We too will be taking time off our day jobs. We largely fund our own activities, however if you are able to make a small contribution to the cost of the banners we will use on the day – outside the embassy and as part of the tours – it would be greatly appreciated. Please e-mail us for more details on how to do this.

6 –If you are a filmmaker, photographer or media worker, and you’d be interested in covering this action (tours/vigil), please get in touch with the co-ordinator, Aisha Maniar, at the e-mail address below. More details on media involvement:

Be a part of history. We hope to see you there – in person or virtually – and send a strong message to President Obama, weeks before he assumes his second term in office, that GUANTANAMO MUST CLOSE.

For any queries, or further information, please contact the London Guantánamo Campaign

Friday, November 30, 2012

LGC Newsletter - November 2012

British Residents:
November 24 marked the eleventh anniversary of Shaker Aamer’s capture in Pakistan and illegal detention without trial or charge. In 2001, he was captured and shortly thereafter sold to the US military for a bounty by his captors. He has been held ever since in Afghanistan and at Guantanamo Bay, since February 2002, without charge or trial and has been beaten and abused frequently. Supporters from the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign marked the anniversary with a vigil in Trafalgar Square. 

Guantánamo Bay:
Barack Obama was re-elected president of the United States for a second term on 6 November. Immediately thereafter, human rights advocates from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and others, such as Amnesty International, called on the president to make good on his broken first term promise to close Guantánamo Bay, and to end indefinite detention and drone strikes:
Shortly before the election, Barack Obama reaffirmed on US TV his wish to close Guantánamo Bay in non-specific terms.
Since then, a report published on 27 November by the official Government Accountability Office (GOA), led by Senator Dianne Feinstein, stated that the 166 remaining prisoners could be safely reabsorbed into the US penitentiary system and identified almost 100 facilities in the US mainland where they could be held: Such a move would require legislation and the Department of Justice would not be able to authorise such movement itself.
Since then, however, the Senate has voted to prevent the transfer of any Guantánamo prisoners to the US mainland in the coming year in an amendment proposed to the National Defense Authorization Bill 2013; this bill must be passed every year and the act which resulted in early 2012 saw the introduction of indefinite detention for American citizens.  Human rights groups had written to President Obama before the vote asking him to use his presidential powers to veto the vote if measures were passed to prevent him closing Guantánamo, but senators have voted against it in any case: The final decision, as with the introduction of indefinite detention for US citizens last year, lies with the president himself.
While disputes and wrangling continue over who is to blame for the almost 11-year history of Guantánamo and who is preventing its closure – Congress or the Senate – the actual issue of the on-going detention and abuse of prisoners outside of the known confines of the law is brushed aside. In spite of the “hope” raised by the GOA report, the fact remains that the vast majority of prisoners are not “bad men” and do not need further incarceration but to be repatriated to their countries of origin and their families. Such is the case of both British residents, Shaker Aamer and Ahmed Belbacha, who were cleared for released almost 6 years ago, and over 30 Yemeni prisoners, who are prevented from leaving due to a ban on their return to Yemen. The responsibility for that, however, lies with the countries they have come from as well, such as the UK, who should be making greater efforts to repatriate their nationals and residents.

To this end, this month, Yemen’s new president officially demanded the return of 80 prisoners to the country and the repatriation of the body of the late Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, who died at Guantánamo in September. The government said it was dropping the demands the former president, deposed in the Arab Spring, had made for their return. It also rejected attempts to send them to third countries, demanding they be returned to their families.

An autopsy has been carried out on the body of Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, a Yemeni prisoner who died at Guantánamo in September this year. The manner of death has been given as suicide but the cause of his death has not been disclosed, although there are alleged inconsistencies with the stories that emerged at the time of his death, for example concerning whether there were signs of self-harm. His body is currently in the process of being returned to his family in Yemen; however, they will not be able to hold an independent autopsy to determine the cause of his death as his organs are reported to have decomposed since his death. The official story on his death, as with those of 8 other prisoners over the past 6 years, remains a mystery:  

Extraordinary rendition:
Two NGOs, the Canadian Centre for International Justice and the American Centre for Constitutional Rights have brought a complaint to the United Nations Committee Against Torture against Canada on behalf of former Guantánamo prisoners Hassan bin Attash, Sami el-Hajj, Muhammed Khan Tumani and Murat Kurnaz for the country’s failure to arrest former US president George W Bush during his visit there last October. The complaint claims that Canada breached its obligations under the Convention Against Torture by failing to arrest and investigate George Bush for his involvement in war crimes against the men in Afghanistan and at Guantánamo, where they were held illegally and tortured.

The British Ministry of Defence has conceded that it cannot hand over prisoners it has captured to the authorities in Afghanistan due to the high risk of torture and abuse in Afghan prisons: There is now a moratorium on the handover of prisoners by British troops. Earlier in the month, on 19 November, Afghan forces took control of Bagram on the order of President Karzai, claiming that the US had failed to honour its side of the agreement on the handover of the prison. While the Afghan authorities have released a number of former prisoners placed under their control over the past 9 months, concerns remain for the 57 foreign nationals the US wishes to retain control over. The move has been welcomed by some human rights NGOs; however conditions of detention by the Afghan authorities are not necessarily better than those of the US:

LGC Activities:
The November monthly LGC demonstration was a special demonstration to mark the US elections on 6 November and was held in solidarity with a number of other grassroots campaigns for human rights with a focus on joint UK-US issues, such as the case of Shaker Aamer and Bradley Manning. The LGC was also joined by a number of outstanding young spoken word artists who made an artistic contribution. Around 50 people attended and showed solidarity. Videos of almost all the speakers are available on the LGC’s YouTube channel:

Next month’s demonstration will exceptionally move to Monday 10th December at 6-8pm to coincide with International Human Rights Day. We invite you to join us in a reading of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights ( you may read whichever article you believe to be most relevant. These rights are supposed to apply to all people and all times. Reading not compulsory:  

 The LGC invites you get involved in our action to mark the 11th anniversary of Guantánamo Bay on Friday 11 January 2013. We will be holding a planning meeting in the Café in the Crypt, St Martin’s in the Field Church, off Trafalgar Square (opposite National Gallery) at 2-4pm on Sunday 2 December. For more details on what we are planning and how you can get involved:!/2012/11/your-invitation-to-join-us-to-mark-11.html  Please join us if you can. You can also follow our progress and get involved via Facebook: and Twitter: @allroadsleadG11

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Your invitation to join us to mark 11 years of Guantánamo Bay: All Roads Lead to Guantánamo

You are cordially invited….

Looking for the ultimate cure to the January blues? Looking for a New Year’s resolution you can keep? …The London Guantánamo Campaign may have an answer for you…

We invite you to join us on our “All Roads Lead to Guantánamo Bay” tour on Friday 11th January. We invite you, at no additional cost to yourself*, to join us on one of several journeys across the capital, visiting different embassies to recount the tortured journeys of several of the almost 800 men who have been sent to Guantánamo Bay over the past 11 years, ending at the ultimate destination of the US Embassy in Mayfair for a vigil at 6pm. Some of the prisoners have been released, some have died there and some still remain…

We offer you a variety of tours of varying lengths (average: 1.5 – 3.5 hours) for different prisoners, which you may choose from. You may join all or part of a tour. The tours will take place during the daytime. It may be necessary to arrange to take time off work or study to join in. We anticipate that some of the shorter tours will be suitable for those with mobility issues and/or with small children.

We appreciate that it may not be possible for everyone to take time off work and join us in the daytime. In that case, you can follow the action as it unfolds across the capital via Twitter and Facebook. We’d also like you to make your own way to the US Embassy at 6pm and join us for a candlelight vigil calling on the closure of Guantánamo Bay on its 11th anniversary. In the following weeks, President Obama will be inaugurated for a second term, so come on London (and the UK), let’s send him a strong message: second time around, Obama, YES YOU CAN!

How to join a tour:

We are looking for both “tourists”to join the tours and “tour guides” to lead them; all information provided in the latter case. Simply send an e-mail to the London Guantánamo Campaign: and we will send you details of the routes and prisoners whose journeys we are retracing for you to decide which one you would like to join. You will then be put in touch with the “tour guide” who will provide you with more details of the specific route. If you would like to get involved in planning, please let us know.

On the day, it is up to you if you wish to wear an orange jumpsuit or your usual attire.

Still not convinced?!

Please check out our video with good reasons why you should join this unique and important action:

The London Guantánamo Campaign has now organised five "tours" for the 11th January action - of varying lengths (mainly 1-3 hours) starting at different times that afternoon. There is one longer tour (for the fit and active) covering a particularly cruel journey to Guantánamo and one "slow" tour for a deceased prisoner. The tours are educational, so if you don't know much about Guantánamo Bay and what's been happening over the past 11 years, we hope we can enlighten you.
You can also keep up to date and interact with this action via Facebook “All Roads Lead to Guantanamo” or Twitter @allroadsleadG11

* Approximate cost of travel in the zone 1 & 2 areas of London by public transport will be notified to tourists; however, the London Guantánamo Campaign cannot offer to help cover individual costs of transport, food, etc.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

All Roads Lead to Guantánamo Bay...on 11th January 2013




on Friday 11th January 2013

all roads lead to Guantánamo Bay

The world has too long turned a blind eye and connived in the illegal practices associated with it. Around 160 prisoners remain there.

The London Guantánamo Campaigns invite you to join us as we mark this 11th anniversary with a mystery tour across the capital, recounting the journey of 11 PRISONERS, visiting the embassies of the countries involved in torture flights and extraordinary rendition and leading up to a candlelight vigil outside the US Embassy at 6pm

Please feel welcome to visit our Facebook page:

or follow us on Twitter @allroadsleadG11                                                                                                                                                                        For more details and to sign up for the tour, please e-mail: or call: 07809 757 176

Monday, November 05, 2012

MEDIA RELEASE: “Truth, Justice and the American way?” British activists to mark US elections with demonstration outside US Embassy, 6pm on 6 November 2012

MEDIA RELEASE: “Truth, Justice and the American way?” British activists to mark US elections with demonstration outside US Embassy, 6pm on 6 November 2012

5th November 2012 – for immediate release

The London Guantánamo Campaign [1] will hold a demonstration, “Truth, Justice and the American Way?”, outside the US Embassy in London at 6-8pm on Tuesday 6thNovember to coincide with the US presidential elections. Speakers from various organisations and performers will raise human rights concerns of common interest to the US and the UK [2].

Aisha Maniar, an organiser for the London Guantánamo Campaign, says, “Four years ago, a new American president, Barack Obama, promised the world a change it could believe in. One change he put his name to in writing was the closure of Guantánamo Bay and the end of military tribunals there. That has not materialised; the American administration has added drone attacks to its repertoire of extralegal activity, expanded the scope of arbitrary detention without charge or trial, [3] and over 160 prisoners remain at Guantánamo Bay after almost 11 years, including British resident Shaker Aamer [4].

“The continually deteriorating human rights situation would not be possible without the collusion of its allies, such as Britain, which has recently seen fit to extradite its own citizens to potential cruel and unusual treatment in US Supermax prisons, has turned a blind eye to the plight of US-UK national Bradley Manning, and is seeking to protect allies such as the US and potentially illegal intelligence-gathering activity by both countries through the Justice and Security Bill [5]. The world deserves much better than this.”

Contact: e-mail:

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.
2. The full list of speakers:

Chris Nineham (Stop The War Coalition), Dr Shahrar Ali (Green Party), Joy Hurcombe (Save Shaker Aamer Campaign), Hamja Ahsan (Free Talha Campaign), Aviva Stahl (Cageprisoners), Anthony Timmons (WISE Up for Bradley Manning), Ilyas Townsend (Justice for Aafia Coalition); performances by Miz The Poet, Ibrahim Sincere and Ed Greens.

4. 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. Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown sought his release in August 2007, along with four other residents held at Guantánamo Bay, the last of whom was released in February 2009.

5. Former Justice Minister Kenneth Clarke recently speaking about the bill:

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Newsletter - October 2012

British Residents:
Documents from Guantánamo Bay declassified in September show that Shaker Aamer is continuing to suffer abuse and was beaten up by guards as recently as April this year for refusing to return to his cell, where he is held for up to 22 hours a day, after exercise. His lawyers have also confirmed that during visits, he shows visible signs of having been beaten. Shaker Aamer further claims that following visits from his lawyers, he is often beaten up by soldiers. The Metropolitan police are continuing investigations into claims that MI6 were present when he was tortured in Afghanistan, and interrogated him in Afghanistan and at Guantánamo Bay. 

Guantánamo Bay:
The credibility of the military commission system at Guantánamo Bay was struck a harsh blow when the conviction of Salim Hamdan, a former Yemeni prisoner convicted in 2009, was overturned by a US federal appeals court. Mr Hamdan, who had worked as a driver for Osama Bin Laden, was charged with conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism. He was convicted of the latter charges, but following his capture in Afghanistan in 2001, he had already served his 66-month sentence by the time he was convicted and was released and returned to Yemen in 2009. The court overturned the conviction as the offence of “providing material support for terrorism” did not exist as a war crime at the time the charges were brought. The 2006 Military Commissions Act, creating military tribunals at Guantánamo, did not allow for Mr Hamdan to be tried retrospectively for an offence that did not exist at the time. In making his judgment, Judge Brett Kavanaugh said, “If the government wanted to charge Hamdan with aiding and abetting terrorism or some other war crime that was sufficiently rooted in the international law of war at the time of Hamdan's conduct, it should have done so”. Salim Hamdan admitted to working for Osama Bin Laden during his trial, but said that he was working for a wage and not to wage war. The ruling raises questions about other convictions at Guantánamo Bay. The day following this ruling, Australian David Hicks said that he would be appealing his conviction too.  

In mid-October, pre-trial hearings resumed in the case of five men accused of involvement in the 9/11 attacks in New York. This is the first time they have appeared in court in over 5 months. All five men, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, “disappeared” into secret CIA-run jails for several years before being taken to Guantánamo Bay and face the death penalty if convicted. The procedural issues discussed included secrecy during the hearings. At the earliest, the actual trials are not expected to start before next summer, almost 12 years after the attacks.

Wikileaks has started the release of more than 100 classified or restricted files from the US Department of Defense relating to procedures on prisoner handling in Iraq, Afghanistan and at Guantánamo Bay. These documents can be accessed at:  

In further pre-trial hearings in his case, Abd Al-Rahim Al-Nashiri, accused of plotting an attack on a US warship in the Gulf of Aden in Yemen in 2000, threatened to boycott his trial due to mistreatment by US soldiers, unnecessary aggression and the requirement that he wears shackles during the hearing. Mr Al-Nashiri, who currently has a case at European Court of Human Rights against Poland for its involvement in his torture there, where he was allegedly waterboarded, faces the death penalty if convicted. He did not attend the first day of the hearing. At the hearing, his lawyers urged the judge to drop the charges against him and try him before a civil court, as Yemen and the US were not engaged in hostilities at the time, meaning that his actions did not constitute war crimes.

Extraordinary rendition:
The first evidence has been filed by lawyers in the criminal case of Abdel Hakim Belhaj and Sami Al-Saadi, who were rendered to Libya in 2004 with the direct help of the UK intelligence services. Former foreign secretary Jack Straw and Sir Mark Allen, a former senior MI6 officer, have been named in the evidence as defendants. As well as describing the torture the two men and their families faced, the documents state that both the government and the intelligence services knew and were aware of the risk of torture.

Yunus Rahmatullah, a Pakistani prisoner held at Bagram Prison in Afghanistan without charge or trial since 2004, following his arrest and handover to the US military by the British army in Iraq, was subject to a British Supreme Court ruling on 31 October. Lawyers for Mr Rahmatullah in the UK, acting on behalf of his family, brought a case against the British government to compel it to seek his release, as under a memorandum of understanding between the US and UK (one of the documents recently released by Wikileaks), he continued to remain under British control. The court of appeal had previously upheld this - his right to habeas corpus - and ordered the government to seek his immediate release. The US government refused to cooperate, as Pakistan has also sought his release and he is a Pakistani national. Cleared for released more than 2 years ago and one of several prisoners whose release Pakistan has sought, it is unclear why Mr Rahmatullah continues to be held at Bagram. In its ruling, the Supreme Court upheld his right to be released but agreed with the government that it had no power to order this from the US and that it could effectively do nothing. His lawyers, however, maintain that his handover was a breach of the Geneva Conventions and that the UK is accused of war crimes in his case, which is currently being investigated by the Metropolitan Police.

LGC Activities:
The October “Shut Down Guantánamo!” demonstration was held on 4th October and was attended by 6 people. This demonstration was held in support of Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan, two British nationals from south London, who lost their appeal and were extradited to the US the next day:
Next month’s demonstration will exceptionally move to Tuesday 6th November at 6-8pm to coincide with the US elections, with speakers and spoken word. Please join us if you can:

The LGC's 26th June action to mark international day in support of victims of torture features on the cover of a new report by the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT). See also page 28 for further information about our "London Says "No to Torture" action:  Many thanks to everyone who took part in that action.

The London Guantánamo Campaign is currently setting up its action to mark the 11th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo Bay on 11th January 2013. Under the heading of “All Roads Lead to Guantánamo", we are planning a day of action taking in actions outside embassies involved in the journey of prisoners to Guantánamo, culminating in a vigil outside the US Embassy. We will be holding a planning meeting on Saturday 10th November at 2-4pm in the basement café in Westminster Central Hall. Please join us if you can. You can also follow our progress and get involved via Facebook: and Twitter: @allroadsleadG11

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Demonstration: Truth, Justice and the American Way? 6 November

On the day of the US Presidential Elections, the
London Guantánamo Campaign invites you to join us at a demonstration


Outside the US Embassy, Grosvenor Square, W1A 1AE
On Tuesday, 6 November, 6-8pm
to protest ongoing abuses of human rights and collusion between the British and US governments

Speakers include:
Hamja Ahsan (Free Talha Ahsan Campaign)
Joy Hurcombe (Save Shaker Aamer Campaign)
Ilyas Townsend (Justice for Aafia Campaign)
Anthony Timmons (WISE Up for Bradley Manning)

Aviva Stahl (Cageprisoners)

Dr Shahrar Ali (Green Party)

Chris Nineham (Stop The War Coalition)
Speaker from Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!
Poets: Mizan the Poet, Ibrahim Sincere, Ed Greens

For more details: e-mail

N.B. This demonstration replaces our regular monthly demonstration for November

Monday, October 01, 2012

LGC Newsletter – September 2012

British Residents:
Having previously refused to disclose the names of prisoners cleared for release, the US Justice Department issued a list of 55 prisoners, including Shaker Aamer and Ahmed Belbacha, on Friday 21 September. Although a partial list of the 86 prisoners approved for transfer several years ago but who continue to be held at Guantánamo Bay for a number of reasons, civil liberties organisations in the US have hailed this unexpected disclosure as a positive step. A previous request for disclosure was turned down in 2009. While the release of this list does not equate to the release of the prisoners or that the US has no objections to their release, it should facilitate the process of campaigning for them. In the case of Shaker Aamer and Ahmed Belbacha, there are clearly no reasons for them to remain at Guantánamo and the British government has no reason not to seek their return. (includes a link to Amnesty USA action to US government to return Shaker Aamer to the UK)

Guantánamo Bay:
On 8 September, 36-year old Yemeni prisoner Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif became the ninth prisoner to die at Guantánamo Bay. The US military withheld his identity for several days. He had travelled to Pakistan, where he was captured, for medical treatment following a car accident that he could not afford in his own country. Having pleaded his innocence all along, he won his habeas corpus case before the DC Circuit Court of Appeals in July 2010; the judge ordered the Obama administration to “take all necessary and appropriate diplomatic steps to facilitate Latif's release forthwith” and stated that the US government had failed to demonstrate any connections with Al Qaeda or its associates. Following disclosures by Wikileaks, it later emerged that he had been cleared for release by the US military as early as 2006. Letters to his lawyer revealing his despair at his ongoing and apparently perpetual detention were reported in the media after his death. The cause of death remains unknown.,0,4034278.story

Omar Khadr turned 26 in Guantánamo Bay on 19 September. Earlier in the month, Minister of Public Security, Vic Toews, received the video materials and psychiatric reports he had requested of the US government to decide whether to seek Omar Khadr’s repatriation. The Huffington Post ( later reported that Omar Khadr would be returned to Canada before the US elections. This was denied by the Canadian government, however in a final twist in this protracted matter, Omar Khadr finally returned to Canada on Saturday 29 September. Upon his return he was taken to the Milhaven detention institute where he remains in a cell for 23 hours a day and where he will serve out the remaining 6 years of his 8 year sentence, having pleaded guilty to the killing of an American soldier in a secret plea bargain before a military tribunal at Guantánamo in 2010. However, Omar Khadr will be due to be considered for parole in May 2013. Having acquiesced to one of its citizens appearing before the much-criticised and flawed military tribunal regime at Guantánamo in 2010, the Canadian government continues to insist that Omar Khadr is a “terrorist”, even though he was not given a fair trial under any recognised definition of the term. 166 prisoners remain at Guantánamo.

Extraordinary rendition:
The American human rights NGO, Human Rights Watch (HRW), has published a major new report on rendition and Libya, claiming that the CIA tortured opponents of the Gaddafi regime before rendering them to Libya where they faced further abuse. Based on interviews with 14 survivors and MI6 and CIA documents obtained by the NGO in Libya last year, the report states that the use of waterboarding was more far extensive than claimed by the US government and that the scope of the abuse carried out by the CIA itself under the guise of extraordinary rendition is far broader than admitted. The report can be read at:

In early September, control of Bagram prison in Afghanistan was handed over from the US to the Afghan authorities in a low-key ceremony; the US, however, is maintaining control of hundreds of prisoners at the facility, now known as the Parwan Detention Centre, whom it claims are “high-value prisoners”, including around 50 foreign nationals, such as Pakistani rendition victim Yunus Rahmatullah. The US intends to hand control of all prison facilities and prisoners to the Afghan authorities by 2014. The decision to maintain control over prisoners has angered the Afghan authorities and the actual terms of the handover are unclear. More than 3000 prisoners are currently held at Bagram without trial or charge.

The British government’s proposals to prevent civil cases concerning torture claims coming to court through the use of secret courts have been condemned by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Prof. Juan Mendez, in a talk he gave in London, stating that this “hampers the ability to deal effectively with torture”. These measures, currently proposed in the Justice and Security Bill would prevent cases seeking disclosure of the government’s involvement in extraordinary rendition and torture abroad, such as the Binyam Mohamed case and the case brought by former Guantánamo prisoners, being heard in open court, effectively denying justice for torture victims and immunity for state agents potentially involved in crimes against humanity.  

On 11 September, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted unanimously to back a new report by parliamentarians, calling for EU members to investigate allegations of complicity in extraordinary rendition and for member states to be held accountable. The report and the parliament called on Lithuania, Poland and Romania to reopen independent investigations into their collusion through hosting torture facilities. The report criticised the current Polish criminal investigation for its lack of transparency. French Green MEP Hélène Flautre called on EU states to “"openly acknowledge that these abuses took place and take measures to address them." British Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford called on the EU to “have the guts and self-respect to enforce accountability for its own members' involvement in human rights abuses”. The report is non-binding and opposition MEPs accused the report of being based on allegations.

The Italian Court of Cassation, the highest criminal court in the country, upheld the convictions of 23 Americans tried in absentia of involvement in the abduction and rendition to torture of Egyptian imam Osama Mustafa Nasr in Milan in 2003. With the help of two Italian intelligence agents, he was taken to a Milan airport and then rendered to torture in Egypt via a NATO base in Germany. Released four years later, he claimed he had been tortured. Following a 3-year trial, the 23 Americans, 22 of whom were held by the court to be CIA agents, were convicted and given 7-9 year sentences. The court also ordered damaged be paid to the victim and his family. The Italian government is now likely to seek the retrial of the two Italians involved and the extradition of the Americans, who face arrest if travelling in Europe. This decision is the final ruling in the first ever court case concerning extraordinary rendition. A lawyer for the Americans accused the decision of undermining diplomatic immunity.
LGC Activities:
The September “Shut Down Guantánamo!” demonstration was held on 6th September and was attended by 10 people. The October demonstration will be held on Thursday 4 October at 12-1pm outside the US Embassy and 1.15-2.15pm outside Speaker’s Corner, Hyde Park (opposite Marble Arch).

The London Guantánamo Campaign is currently in the process of setting up its action to mark the 11th anniversary of the opening of the current incarnation of Guantánamo Bay as a prison camp in January 2013. Under the heading of “All Roads Lead to Guantánamo", we are planning a day of action taking in actions outside embassies involved in the journey of prisoners to Guantánamo, culminating in a vigil outside the US Embassy. Please get involved and help us to plan and carry out the action on the day, Friday 11th January 2013. You can follow our progress and get involved via Facebook: and Twitter: @allroadsleadG11

Friday, August 31, 2012

LGC Newsletter – August 2012

British Residents:The Metropolitan Police, following a joint decision with the Crown Prosecution Service, announced that it will investigate claims that British agents were involved in the torture of Shaker Aamer. This could involve detectives seeking permission from the US authorities to interview Shaker Aamer in Guantánamo Bay about allegations he made to his lawyers. British intelligence agents are alleged to have been present and attended interrogations fully aware that Mr Aamer had been tortured.

Guantánamo Bay:
The Egyptian government has formally demanded the release of the last Egyptian prisoner held at Guantánamo Bay. Tariq Mahmoud Ahmed al-Sawah, 54, was charged with material support for terrorism and conspiracy in 2008 but those charges were dropped earlier this year without trial. During his time at Guantánamo Bay, his captors have considered him a co-operative prisoner who provided them with information about other prisoners. The new Egyptian government has in particular expressed concerns about his health following almost 11 years of abuse and illegal detention.

Pre-trial hearings for five men accused of involvement in the 11 September attacks in New York in 2001, including Khaled Sheikh Mohamed, which were initially set back from early to late August, so as not to clash with the Muslim month of fasting Ramadan, have now been set back to mid-October. The hearing, set for 22 August, was delayed by one day, following a train derailment near Baltimore which damaged the fibre optic cable linked to the US government’s computer system on the island, which meant that the prosecution was unable to access e-mails and electronic legal documents to prepare its case. It was then postponed again as Hurricane Isaac headed for the Caribbean. The hurricane battered the island of Cuba on the weekend of 25-26 August and prisoners who are housed in secured structures were moved to safer premises. Media, human rights observers and victims’ families attending the hearing were all evacuated.

Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Haza al-Darbi, a 37-year old Saudi prisoner, has been charged, more than 10 years later, with training with Al-Qaeda and plotting to attack oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf and Yemen. The attacks he is alleged to have helped prepare took place in 2000 and 2002. He faces 6 charges and if tried, will be brought before a military tribunal. Facing the possibility of a life sentence, if he enters a plea bargain with the US military, his testimony could be used against Abdul Rahim Al-Nashiri, accused of masterminding attacks against the US in Yemen and a fellow prisoner who faces the death penalty if convicted. Evidence against the latter was obtained from waterboarding and other forms of torture.
Extraordinary rendition:
Investigators in Poland, looking into the country’s alleged role in extraordinary rendition and operation of secret torture jails for the CIA have extended their investigation until February 2013. Reasons were not given, however Polish journalists have recently claimed to have found records of at least 7 CIA planes landing at a Polish military base in 2002 and 2003.

LGC Activities:
The August “Shut Down Guantánamo!” demonstration was held on 2nd August and was attended by 3 people. The September demonstration will be held on Thursday 6 September at 12-1pm outside the US Embassy and 1.15-2.15pm outside Speaker’s Corner, Hyde Park (opposite Marble Arch).

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

LGC Newsletter – July 2012

British Residents:
The Save Shaker Aamer Campaign (SSAC) website has been relaunched at with news about the e-petition and other campaign work linked to Shaker Aamer’s case. Please visit the site for updates and news.

Guantánamo Bay:
The US government is currently considering transferring a number of Afghan prisoners suspected to be militants to Afghanistan as part of a deal to restart talks with the Taliban. Previously, as part of similar talks, the US intended to send several Afghan prisoners to Qatar to be placed under effective house arrest there, considering it too risky to return them to Afghanistan. However, it is now considering transferring others, considered low-risk prisoners, to Afghan custody, where they would be likely to be held at a currently US-run prison near the Bagram detention facility. Talks between the Taliban, the Afghan government and the US broke down earlier this year and it is hoped that this move will help to restart negotiations. However, it is also further proof that Guantánamo prisoners are merely pawns in the political and diplomatic games of others. President Karzai of Afghanistan has, for his part, consistently demanded the return of all Afghan prisoners to the country.

The Pentagon has dropped war crime charges against Kuwaiti prisoner Faiz Al Kandari, accused in 2008 of being involved with Al Qaeda and providing material support for terrorism. He was never referred for trial and now all charges have been dropped without reason. The US and Kuwaiti governments are also stepping up efforts to secure the release of the two remaining Kuwaiti prisoners at Guantánamo Bay: Mr Al Kandari, and Fawzi Al Odah, who has never faced charges. A further 10 Kuwaitis have already been released. In mid-July, lawyers for the two men in Kuwait brought a court case against government officials to pressurise them to seek the release of the two remaining prisoners.

Hearings for five men accused of involvement in the 11 September attacks in New York in 2001, including Khaled Sheikh Mohamed, have successfully petitioned for the next stage of their trial to be set back from 8-12 August to 22-26 August, so as not to clash with the Muslim month of fasting Ramadan, which ends a few days before 22 August.

On 10 July, Sudanese prisoner, Ibrahim Al-Qosi, 52, convicted on terrorism charges in a secret plea deal in July 2010, was released to Sudan. This is the first time a convicted prisoner has been released under the Obama administration. Having served his two-year sentence in return for pleading guilty, he was released to prove that the US administration will honour its part in plea bargains made with prisoners. On the other hand, while the US is keen to release Canadian prisoner Omar Khadr, who has been free for release since October 2011, the Canadian government is still refusing to implement measures – the writing of a letter requesting his transfer back to the country by Minister Vic Toews – that would see that happen promptly. There are currently 168 prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay. 
Nine months after Omar Khadr completed his sentence under his plea bargain and was free to return to his native Canada to serve the rest of his sentence for war crimes, he remains in Guantánamo Bay. His release should have been sought at the latest by the end of May. While the US is keen to return 25-year old Khadr to Canada, as it feels that the delay in this case may deter other prisoners from entering plea bargains, Canada on the other hand has not honoured its pledge to seek his return. A mere letter signed by the Canadian Public Safety Minister Vic Toews potentially stands between Khadr and his release. A petition started earlier this month by Canadian Senator Roméo Dallaire has attracted more than 28,000 signatures already demanding the Canadian government officially seek his release. You can add your name to the petition at: Lawyers for Omar Khadr also started court proceedings in mid-July seeking the court order the government to demand Omar Khadr’s release. The Canadian government has not provided reasons for why it has not yet done this. Instead, in further foot-dragging, Minister Toews wrote to the US government seeking further confidential videos and psychiatric reports to see if Omar Khadr is fit to return to the country. Many consider this to be a further stalling tactic to delay Mr Khadr’s return.

A declassified US Department of Defense report has emerged this month providing further evidence that prisoners held at Guantánamo and other prisoners held under the “war on terror” had been drugged and given powerful antipsychotic drugs in detention and particularly prior to interrogations, impairing their ability to represent the truth. Many prisoners have alleged that they have been forced to take drugs against their will during their imprisonment.

Extraordinary rendition:
Poland’s investigation into its role in the CIA’s extraordinary rendition programme and the existence of a secret torture prison outside the village of Stare Kiekuty could lead to the prosecution of high-level military, intelligence and political figures. Although charges have been brought against the former head of intelligence, it is likely that many senior figures were involved and could face prosecution too. Documents have now emerged, according to a Polish senator, that show that a local contractor was asked to build a cage at the village. Other evidence has emerged that the former head of intelligence Zbigniew Siemiatkowski signed a document authorising the setup of the prison.,0,1305119,full.story
In mid-July, as part of an ongoing European Union Parliament investigation, EU states complicit in extraordinary rendition were asked to apologise for their role in facilitating the torture and illegal detention of victims. A full report is expected later this year. 
Since then, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has demanded that the Polish government hand over the documents mentioned above, which evidence authorisation for the prison to be set up. Lawyers have brought a case at the court against Poland on behalf of Abdul Rahim Al-Nashiri, the Yemeni national currently facing trial at Guantánamo for his alleged role in the bombing of a US warship, the USS Cole, off the coast of Yemen in 2000, who is known to have been waterboarded, among other forms of torture, he faced when he “disappeared” into CIA “black sites” for over 18 months before arriving at Guantánamo Bay. This request coincides with the timing of Al-Nashiri’s trial in the US. The court is also seeking to know whether Poland allowed Al-Nashiri to be tortured and then sent to a country that uses the death penalty, Morocco, which is also a breach of Poland’s international human rights obligations.

Three Kenyan nationals who were kidnapped and “rendered” to Uganda, where they are currently held and face charges for alleged involvement in a bombing in Kampala in 2010, lost their case in the High Court to force the British government to provide evidence that it was complicit and aware of the torture they had faced, so they can use that evidence, of abuse, in their trial. They claim that following their kidnap and “rendition” to Uganda in the summer of 2010, British and American intelligence officers were present while they were tortured to confess during interrogations and were aware of their abuse. Although allowing the prisoners to bring the claim, the trial was heard in partially closed hearings, sections of the trial counsel for the prisoners were not allowed to attend or know what happened during these proceedings, and the final judgment was partly closed as well, meaning that the prisoners and their lawyers do not know the full reason for the judgment made. The government is currently seeking to roll out such secretive court proceedings in its controversial Justice and Security Bill. The judges decided that while the prisoners allege gross abuses of their human rights and face the death penalty, it could not compel the intelligence services to disclose what it knows or what it has done. Furthermore, they did not state whether British intelligence officers were involved in collusion in torture and rendition. This case relates to events in the summer of 2010, some months after the current coalition government took power. Although it is always claimed by the current leadership that torture and rendition collusion were actions of the former Labour government, it has possibly just succeeded in hiding its own involvement in international crimes against humanity.
Earlier this month, lawyers for Yunus Rahmatullah, a Pakistani national held at Bagram since 2004, following his rendition by the British army in Iraq to US force there, took his case to the Supreme Court to force the British government to seek his release from illegal US detention. At the end of last year, the court of appeal ruled his detention illegal and ordered the UK to demand his release; however, foreign office ministers said they had no power to instruct the US to act. Using memoranda of understanding signed by the US and UK militaries on matters including the treatment of prisoners and in light of the Geneva Conventions, lawyers for Mr Rahmatullah, whom both the US and UK have since conceded poses no risk, are seeking to secure his release.
LGC Activities:
The July “Shut Down Guantánamo!” demonstration was held on 4th July and was attended by 7 people. The August demonstration will be held on Thursday 2 August at 12-1pm outside the US Embassy and 1.15-2.15pm outside Speaker’s Corner, Hyde Park (opposite Marble Arch):
The LGC has started an urgent action of Omar Khadr urging you to add your name to two petitions to the Canadian government and to write letters to Minister Vic Toews and the Canadian High Commission in the UK. More details: