Reprieve deplores unjust Guantánamo “war crimes” trial

August 6, 2008

Image of a prison cell window with bars

British legal action charity Reprieve denounces the just completed trial of Guantánamo prisoner Salim Hamdan as unjust and illegal.

“Fighting terrorism is a deadly serious game, but the show trial of Salim Hamdan looks like amateur hour. We heard during closing arguments that Salim Hamdan gave the US information about where Osama Bin Laden was – and the US botched the job. At the last minute of the trial, prosecutors realized they hadn’t proven someof the charges, so asked the judge to rewrite the law. And throughout, evidence gained from coercion – evidence that would never be allowed in a civilian or regular military court – was allowed to form the very heart of the prosecution’s case. These trials need to be professional, clear and open. Instead, we’ve got a shambles that brings us no closer to justice,”

Zachary Katznelson, Legal Director of Reprieve stated.

He added: “These trials are not just about a few men and what they may have done they are about the message the United States is sending to the world. And that message right now is flat wrong: convictions by any means necessary. The US needs to show it stands for openness and fairness – the very values we are fighting for. Instead, we get verdicts rammed down the gullet of justice. That’s not going to bring anyone over to our side.”

For further information, please contact Reprieve’s Press Office on 020 7427 1099 or email:

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 lawyers represent 32 prisoners in Guantánamo. Reprieve investigates, litigates and educates, working on the front line, to provide legal support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves.


PO Box 52742

London EC4P 4WS

Tel: 020 7353 4640

Fax: 020 7353 4641



Reprieve is a charitable company limited by guarantee; Registered Charity No. 1114900 Registered Company No. 5777831 (England) Registered Office 2-6 Cannon Street London EC4M 6YH; Patrons: Alan Bennett, Julie Christie, Martha Lane Fox, Gordon Roddick, Jon Snow, Marina Warner