Thursday, January 19, 2017

MEDIA RELEASE: London Guantánamo Campaign Comment on Inauguration of New US President Donald Trump


For release: Thursday, 19 January 2016

The London Guantánamo Campaign [1] will join protests planned in London on Friday 20 January [2] and Saturday 21 January [3] to call on the new US president to close the Guantánamo Bay extra-legal prison facility [4].

Aisha Maniar, spokesperson for the London Guantánamo Campaign, says: “Regardless of who is the president of the United States, the fact that the Guantánamo Bay prison camp remains open after 15 years with over 40 prisoners is an indelible stain on the reputation of the US. It is a demonstration of US disdain for international law and human rights standards, and its proclaimed values of freedom and justice. The US appears only to uphold these values when it comes to the actions of non-allied states.

“We call on Donald Trump to close the Guantánamo Bay prison camp and release all prisoners held there without charge or trial. It would be unacceptable to transfer these prisoners to indefinite detention elsewhere, a solution proposed by his predecessor.

“Nonetheless, in view of Donald Trump’s recent comments on the use of torture and the Guantánamo Bay prisoners, the outlook does not appear positive and we can only hope he keeps his pledges on Guantánamo as well as his predecessor. The closure of Guantánamo is long overdue and is a continuing financial and moral liability for the US.”

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS:

1. The London Guantánamo Campaign was set up in 2006 and 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. http://londonguantanamocampaign.blogspot.com   



4. 780 prisoners have been held at Guantánamo. There are currently around 40 prisoners remaining. https://ccrjustice.org/home/get-involved/tools-resources/fact-sheets-and-faqs/guant-namo-numbers

Thursday, January 12, 2017

15 Years of Guantánamo: How Many US Presidents Does It Take to Close Guantánamo? (event report)


In under a week, Barack Obama will no longer be the president of the United States of America. Nonetheless, the Guantánamo Bay prison camp, which he promised to close down as an election pledge as early as 2007 and signed an executive order to this effect as one of his first acts as president in January 2009, remains open. As Guantánamo turned 15 on 11 January 2017, 55 prisoners remain, almost all held without charge and trial. For those who face trial by military commission, evidence against them has been obtained through the use of torture.

According to the Miami Herald, only one of the remaining prisoners, an Afghan, was captured by the US military: he has been cleared for release. More than 40 were captured by foreign forces all over the world and largely sold to the US military. Victims of the CIA’s extraordinary rendition programme, many oare survivors and witnesses to the worst forms of torture practiced by the CIA.




 
As the London Guantánamo Campaign (LGC) has done each year since 2008, we marked the anniversary of the opening of this extralegal black hole with a demonstration. Around 40 people joined the LGC on a sunny afternoon outside the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square for a “sad clown protest”. A bright and colourful demonstration, protesters worse clown suits and shouted demands for the closure of the prison camp.
Passers-by, many of whom were unaware of the anniversary, engaged positively with the protesters and stopped to talk and take photographs. The colourful protest was attractive from afar and once people approached to see what the clowns were doing the ironic message was very clear: 15 years of Guantánamo – of torture and indefinite detention – is no laughing matter.
 
Next week, as a new commander in chief takes responsibility of Guantánamo, we will urge him to close the facility, end the indefinite detention of the prisoners held there and an end to the regime of torture. Protests were also held in Los Angeles and Washington DC in the USA. The London Guantánamo Campaign thanks all the enthusiastic activists who joined us.

Photos:


















Wednesday, January 11, 2017

11 January: 15 Years of Guantánamo is No Joke! Anniversary Vigil

MEDIA RELEASE: 15 Years of Guantánamo is No Laughing Matter: London Guantánamo Campaign to Mark Anniversary with Protest, Trafalgar Square, Wednesday 11 January 2017, 12-2pm


For immediate release: Wednesday 11 January 2017
The London Guantánamo Campaign [1] and human rights activists will mark the fifteenth anniversary of the opening of the Guantánamo Bay detention camp with a “Sad Clown Protest” [2] on the north side of Trafalgar Square, outside the National Gallery in London at 12-2pm on Wednesday 11 January 2017.

As part of this protest action, at 1pm, activists dressed in clown suits will hold a visual action demanding the closure of Guantánamo Bay.

Aisha Maniar, organiser from the London Guantánamo Campaign, says, "The fact that Guantánamo remains open and operational after fifteen years with 55 prisoners, almost all held without charge, trial or even the prospect of a trial throughout that period, is an unfortunate indictment of the state of global politics today and of the blatant disregard by states for international law and human rights.

“The US military did not capture but bought 86% of the total prisoners held at Guantánamo [3]. Consequently, the never-ending recycling of Bush-era myths concerning the alleged danger posed by prisoners is proof that the extralegal regime remains indefensible and is a perversion of the freedom and justice it claims to protect.

“Guantánamo Bay will certainly still be open after Barack Obama leaves office and his inability and many missed opportunities to close what he once called a “misguided experiment” will be marked as a major failure in his legacy. It is also a failure of the US’s allies who have not spoken out strongly enough in condemnation of practices at Guantánamo and who have in many cases colluded knowingly in the extralegal detention and torture of their own citizens there.”

ENDS


NOTES TO EDITORS

1. The London Guantánamo Campaign was set up in 2006 and 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. http://londonguantanamocampaign.blogspot.com  

Since 2008, the London Guantánamo Campaign has each year been the sole organiser of the UK protest to mark the anniversary of Guantánamo Bay opening on 11 January 2002.