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London Events For 10th Anniversary Of Opening Of Guantánamo – OpEd

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I arrived in New York yesterday, a year after my last visit, for 12 days of events to mark the 10th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo (as described here), with a particular focus on a rally and march in Washington D.C. next Wednesday, January 11 (the actual date of the opening of Guantánamo). On arrival, I was met by Debra Sweet, national director of The World Can’t Wait, who arranged my visit, and we immediately made our way to the Brecht Forum on the West Side Highway for a fascinating event, “Building a Movement to Close Guantánamo and End All Unjust Detentions,” which focused on building bridges between those working to close Guantánamo and those campaigning against unjust trials and detentions in the US. There I was delighted to meet up, for the first time since last January, with Pardiss Kebriaei and Leili Kashani of the Center for Constitutional Rights (with whom I have been working on reports forthe 10th anniversary, to be published very soon), and also with another old friend, Guantánamo attorney and law professor Ramzi Kassem, and also Faisal Hashmi of the Muslim Justice Initiative, the brother of Fahad Hashmi, whose unfair extradition from the UK and unfair trial and disproportionately punitive sentence in the US in 2010 — after three and a half years kept in isolation in New York — I wrote about here.

I hope to write more about this event and others in the coming days, but for now, while I’m absolutely delighted to be here, meeting up with old friends, making new friends and campaigning for the closure of Guantánamo where it matters the most, I’m also pleased to note that a number of compelling events have been lined up in London, which I’m delighted to publicize below:

Saturday January 7, 2012, 2-4pm: Shut Guantánamo – End 10 Years of Shame
Public Rally, Trafalgar Square, London, at the top of the steps outside the National Gallery.

This event is organized by the London Guantánamo Campaign, the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign, Stop the War Coalition and CND.

Speakers include:
Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP (Liberal Democrat)
Louise Christian (solicitor for Guantánamo prisoners)
Lindsey German (Stop the War Coalition)
Kate Hudson (Chair, CND)
Joy Hurcombe (Save Shaker Aamer Campaign)
Cortney Busch (Reprieve)
Victoria Brittain (journalist, Patron of Cageprisoners)
Kanja Sesay (NUS)

See the website here. Also, please sign the London Guantánamo Campaign’s petition for the release to the UK of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo, and Ahmed Belbacha, an Algerian national who fears being repatriated, and who lived peacefully and productively in the UK from 1999 to 2001.

For more details, please email or call 07809 757176. Also see the Facebook page.

Tuesday January 10, 2012, 10.30 am: Press launch of the “Laa Tansa: Never Forget” Guantánamo timeline project
Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place, London W2 1QJ.

“Laa Tansa: Never Forget” is a major online project, undertaken by Cageprisoners over the last six months, to provide the most detailed interactive timeline of Guantánamo to date, for which I played a major role researching prisoner profiles, as featured in my ongoing series, “The Complete Guantánamo Files.”

Speakers:
Moazzam Begg (former Guantánamo prisoner and director of Cageprisoners)
Mousa Zemmouri (former Guantánamo prisoner, Belgium)
Murat Kurnaz (former Guantánamo prisoner, Germany)
Walid Haj (former Guantánamo prisoner, Sudan)
Saad al-Azemi (former Guantánamo prisoner, Kuwait)
Colonel Talal al-Zahrani (the father of Yasser al-Zahrani, who died at Guantánamo in June 2006)
Clive Stafford Smith (Director of Reprieve)

See the website here. For further information, please email or phone 020 3167 4416.

Wednesday January 11, 2012, 6 pm: “Guantánamo Remembered: 10 Years”
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL.

On the 10th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo, Cageprisoners, Reprieve and the Islamic Human Rights Commission co-host an event to reflect on the impact of a decade of Guantánamo on the lives of those held in the prison and their families.

Speakers:
Moazzam Begg (former Guantánamo prisoner and director of Cageprisoners)
Sami El-Hajj (former Guantánamo prisoner, works for Al-Jazeera)
Mousa Zemmouri (former Guantánamo prisoner, Belgium)
Murat Kurnaz (former Guantánamo prisoner, Germany)
Walid Haj (former Guantánamo prisoner, Sudan)
Saad al-Azemi (former Guantánamo prisoner, Kuwait)
Colonel Talal al-Zahrani (the father of Yasser al-Zahrani, who died at Guantánamo in June 2006)
Michael Ratner (President of the Center for Constitutional Rights)
Clive Stafford Smith (Director of Reprieve)
Massoud Shadjareh (Director of Islamic Human Rights Commission)
Gareth Peirce (human rights lawyer)
Victoria Brittain (Patron of Cageprisoners)
Asim Qureshi (Executive Director of Cageprisoners)

See the website here. For further information, please email or phone 020 3167 4416.

Thursday January 12, 2012, 6.30 pm: “Death in Camp Delta” – UK film premiere
Curzon Cinema (Soho), 99 Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 5DY.

Cageprisoners hosts the UK film premiere of the Erling Borgen film, “Death in Camp Delta.” The film tells the story of Yasser al-Zahrani and two other prisoners who died in Guantánamo in June 2006, reportedly by committing suicide, although that version of events has been seriously challenged by former soldiers working at Guantánamo at the time. The film features former Guantánamo prisoners Omar Deghayes, Moazzam Begg, Sami al-Hajj (Al-Jazeera), Walid Haj, and Colonel Talal al-Zahrani.

Speakers:
Erling Borgen (Filmmaker and director of “Death in Camp Delta”)
Moazzam Begg (former Guantánamo prisoner and director of Cageprisoners)
Talal al-Zahrani (the father of Yaser al-Zahrani, who died at Guantánamo in June 2006)
Cori Crider (Legal Director of Reprieve)

See the website here. For further information, please email or phone 020 3167 4416.

Andy Worthington

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK). To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to his RSS feed (he can also be found on Facebook and Twitter). Also see his definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in January 2010, and, if you appreciate his work, feel free to make a donation.

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