US military drops Guantánamo charges against British resident Binyam Mohamed

October 21, 2008

Image of a prison cell window with bars

Reprieve, the legal action charity whose lawyers represent British resident Binyam Mohamed, announces that the US military has dropped all charges against Mr. Mohamed in his proposed trial by Military Commission at Guantánamo. 

Last night, the so-called Convening Authority, Susan Crawford, dismissed all charges “without prejudice”.

All is not, unfortunately, as the Pentagon would have it seem.

“Far from being a victory for Mr. Mohamed in his long-running struggle for justice, this is more of the same farce that is Guantánamo,” said Reprieve director, Clive Stafford Smith. “The military has informed us that they plan to charge him again within a month, after the election.”

The charges have been dropped because the US military prosecutor who resigned last month, Lt. Colonel Darrel Vandeveld (US Army), raised pervasive complaints about the military suppressing evidence favourable to the accused. The Pentagon intends to re-file charges against Mr. Mohamed again within 30 days, and argue that intervention by new military prosecutors has resolved the flaws identified by Vandeveld.

This action comes on the same day as Reprieve asked a federal judge to impose sanctions on the government for violating a federal order to produce evidence favourable to Mr. Mohamed.

“The Bush Administration will not even admit in public that they rendered Mr. Mohamed to face torture in Morocco, let alone allow him a fair trial,” said Mr. Stafford Smith. “Meanwhile he sits in solitary confinement in Guantánamo, in total despair, contemplating whether he should just commit suicide.”

Reprieve has long maintained that the entire case against Mr. Mohamed should be dropped by the US Government, and that he should be returned to the UK, as requested by the British Government in August 2007.

Mr. Mohamed is a victim of “extraordinary rendition” and torture.

He was sent to Morocco by the CIA on July 21, 2002, where he was tortured for 18 months; he was then rendered to the secret “Dark Prison” in Afghanistan, where his torture continued. As a result, all the supposed ‘evidence’ against him is the fruit of torture, and would be inadmissible in any court other than a US Military Commissions.

-ENDS-

For further information, please contact Reprieve’s Press Office on 020 7427 1099 or email: clare.algar@reprieve.org.uk.

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’s current casework involves:

• representing 33 prisoners in the US prison at Guantanamo Bay.

• working on behalf of prisoners facing the death penalty.

• conducting ongoing investigations into the rendition and the secretdetention of ‘ghost prisoners’ in the so-called ‘war on terror.’

ReprievePO Box 52742LondonEC4P 4WSTel: 020 7353 4640Fax: 020 7353 4641Email: info@reprieve.org.ukWebsite: www.reprieve.org.uk

Reprieve is a charitable company limited by guaranteeRegistered Charity No. 1114900 Registered Company No. 5777831 (England)Registered Office 2-6 Cannon Street London EC4M 6YHPatrons: Alan Bennett, Martha Lane Fox, Sir John Mortimer, Gordon Roddick, Jon Snow, Marina Warner