Obama must close Guantanamo, says Green MEP

9 January 2009

This Sunday, Jean Lambert will mark the seventh anniversary of the opening of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility with the London Guantanamo campaign at a demonstration to be held outside the US Embassy.

The Green Party MEP for London, who was previously named MEP of the Year for her work on Justice and Human Rights and has campaigned for many years against the facility, commented:

"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.

"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. 

"The remaining detainees must now 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." 

The demonstration will take place on Sunday 11 January, from 3-5pm outside the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square, Mayfair. Confirmed speakers include Andy Worthington (journalist and author of The Guantánamo Files), Jean Lambert (Green Party MEP), Bruce Kent (Pax Christi), Imam Shakeel Begg (Imam of Lewisham Mosque) and Mohammed Yahya (hip hop artist). 

For more information about events go to http://www.guantanamo.org.uk/ 

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