11 Jan 2009

Guantanamo Bay: no more anniversaries please

Today Sunday protesters will mark the seventh anniversary of the opening of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility at a demonstration to be held outside the US Embassy. My thoughts will be with them - and indeed I applaud their actions to highlight this gross injustice.

Photos: more of Ruscombe valley from earlier last week when we had that smattering of snow

Here is the comment from Green Party MEP for London, Jean Lambert, who was previously named MEP of the Year for her work on Justice and Human Rights: "It remains to be seen whether President Elect Obama will stick to his word and close down Guantanamo, but I sincerely hope that this is the last time that we have to mark this sad anniversary. This facility symbolizes nothing more than injustice, torture and illegal detention. By denying an effective and open legal process to detainees at Guantanamo, and other secret prisons around the world, the current US administration has consistently made a mockery of human rights. What is certain is that the new President will need the backing of governments around the world if the US is to succeed in finding safe countries in which to repatriate the many victims of this debacle. I call on the UK Government to provide its support and encourage EU Member States to do the same to bring this dreadful chapter to an end."

It is extraordinary that this facility is still operating - let us not forget that after six and a half years of illegal imprisonment and being subjected to appalling torture, Binyam Mohammed, a former London resident, is still held in Guantanamo. The only evidence against him was extracted through torture and yet he is has been refused a civilian trial. Such treatment is outrageous. Sadly he is not alone and our Government has failed to criticise or condemn the US for this appalling breach of human rights - see my letter of nearly 2 years ago on this here.

It is high time that the remaining detainees be given a fair trial or released to safe countries. This abuse of human rights has gone on for far too long and must not be allowed to continue. We must not still be protesting about Guantanamo Bay next year. For more information go to: www.guantanamo.org.uk/

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