As George Bush visits London, Reprieve tells Bush and Brown: Bring Binyam Back to Britain

June 13, 2008

Image of a hand grasping onto a fence

Representatives of Reprieve, including Director Clive Stafford Smith, released Guantánamo prisoners, and other supporters will be meeting at 3 pm outside the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, where they will publicize Binyam’s plight.

Where: Trafalgar Square, in front of the National Gallery
When: 3 pm, Sunday 15 June
Who: Reprieve Director Clive Stafford Smith, former Guantánamo prisoners, Barney the Dinosaur and other special guests

On Sunday 15 June, US President George W. Bush is visiting London as part of his valedictory world tour, and will be having tea with the Queen and dinner with Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Reprieve, the legal action charity that represents over 30 Guantánamo prisoners, is using this opportunity to highlight the suffering of Binyam Mohamed, the London resident who remains in Guantánamo Bay. The US military has announced that it wants to put him through its discredited military commission process, and a final decision on whether to do so will be made in the next few weeks. The commission system is so corrupt that Col. Morris Davis recently quit as the chief military prosecutor, because of the system’s many flaws, one being that evidence derived from torture was going to be used against the prisoners. Clive Stafford Smith said:

“This week Reprieve released a report, ‘Human Cargo’ which described, in excruciating detail, the torture that Binyam Mohamed endured for years in Morocco, Afghanistan and Guantánamo, by or on behalf of the US government, and with at least some assistance from the British. As President Bush sits down to eat with Prime Minister Gordon Brown, we want to make sure that these two leaders remember that Binyam is now on a hunger strike at Guantánamo, and that Reprieve, and Binyam’s many supporters, will not rest until he has been released from Guantánamo, and returned to the UK. All Binyam has ever asked for is a fair trial, but this can never happen in Guantánamo.”

Nothing could be more true of Binyam, who was taken to Morocco where his genitals were razor-bladed over the course of 18 months. After that he was rendered to the CIA-run “Dark Prison” in Kabul, where he was tortured psychologically, strung up and blasted with ear-splitting music for 20 days at a time. He has been imprisoned in Guantánamo Bay since September 2004.

Given the fortuitous timing of President Bush’s visit to London, Reprieve is using this opportunity to make sure that both the President and Prime Minster Gordon Brown get the message: “Bring Binyam Back.” The alternative, as Reprieve has made clear since the charges against Binyam were first announced, is for evidence of his rendition and torture to emerge in a courtroom at Guantanamo, causing embarrassment to the governments of both the US and the UK.

Throughout this initiative, Reprieve will dramatize the torture-by-music that Binyam and other prisoners have suffered. Barney the Purple Dinosaur will be making an unauthorised personal appearance, as the theme tune to this popular children’s show has been one of the US torturers’ favourite pieces of torture music. Reprieve is also hoping to involve other creative “cartoon characters”: Katy the Kangaroo Court, and even Roger the Razor Blade. Cosmetics firm Lush, who have been supporting the work of Reprieve, have kindly agreed to bring along their massive “Fair Trial My Arse” orange underpants, to highlight the nature of the unjust process that Binyam is facing.

The day will culminate at the Southbank Centre, where Massive Attack is hosting a series of Reprieve events as part of Meltdown 2008. Alex Gibney’s Academy Award-winning documentary, Taxi to the Dark Side, about the murder of an innocent Afghan taxi driver in a US prison in Afghanistan, is being shown at 6:30 in the evening, and Clive Stafford Smith and released Guantánamo prisoner Moazzam Begg will both be speaking.

-ENDS-

Note for editors:

Reprieve, a legal action charity, uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay. Reprieve investigates, litigates and educates, working on the frontline, to provide legal support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves. Reprieve promotes the rule of law around the world, securing each person’s right to a fair trial and saving lives.

Clive Stafford Smith is the founder of Reprieve and has spent 25 years working on behalf of people facing the death penalty in the USA. Reprieve lawyers currently represent over thirty prisoners held in Guantánamo Bay. Reprieve lawyers have represented Mr. Mohamed since 2005.

For more details about Reprieve, visit: www.reprieve.org.uk.