Binyam Mohamed turns 30 in Guantánamo Bay

July 24, 2008

Image of visiting room in Guantanamo

24 July 2008

Reprieve has repeatedly asked the British Government to intervene on Binyam’s behalf. We have just heard from the British Government that they asked the US in May to examine the question of Binyam’s ‘mistreatment’. The US Government has now responded, saying that, based on a review of their records and consultations, that the allegations made by Mr Mohamed are “not credible”.

Responding to the news, Clive Stafford Smith, Director of Reprieve, said: “This is absolutely astonishing as a response. Binyam was in Morocco for 18 months and he gives detailed accounts of his torture there. Binyam is not Moroccan and he has nothing to do with Morocco. Assuming that Binyam was not in Morocco on a CIA-financed Club Med vacation, what was he doing there?”

Today, July 24, British resident Binyam Mohamed celebrates his thirtieth birthday in a cell in Guantánamo Bay.

Unlike many celebrating their 30th, Binyam has spent the last four years in Guantanamo Bay and before that suffered two years of torture after being renditioned to Morocco and the “Dark Prison” in Afghanistan by the CIA. Amongst other horrors, in Morocco, Binyam’s torture included a razorblade regularly being taken to his genitals.

Reprieve knows that photographs exist of Mr Mohamed’s mutilated genitalia, because a US intelligence officer has recently said so to a media contact of ours. We have asked Congress to compel the production of such photographs and Representative Bill Delahunt has written to the Pentagon demanding them.

It is extraordinary that the US government is prepared to say that it is not credible that Binyam was tortured when the document has not been produced and the tests which have been identified as necessary by British medical professionals have not been carried out.

In London, on 3 June 2008, Mr. Justice John Sanders ordered that an urgent hearing be held on Mr. Mohamed’s request for a judicial review. This followed the UK government’s claim that it would not provide information about his CIA-sponsored torture in Morocco, and that it was therefore refusing to help him prove in his forthcoming US military commission either that he was tortured or that he is innocent of the charges.

This hearing is due to take place next week.

For further information, please contact Clare Algar at Reprieve’s Press Office on 020 7427 1085 or email: clare.algar@reprieve.org.uk.

Notes 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.