Reprieve is delighted to learn that President Barack Obama will close Guantánamo Bay within a year

January 21, 2009

Reprieve is delighted by President Obama’s pledge to close Guantánamo Bay within a year, and halt all military trials.

At Reprieve we fight for legal rights in the darkest places; since 2002 a key battleground has been Guantánamo Bay. We are relieved that this battle is nearly won; we thank the President for his support and will hold him to his promises.

For our clients, the end cannot come soon enough. Reprieve will push for their urgent release and repatriation.

But President Obama cannot achieve this alone. It is now time for British and European leaders to support the new administration by offering refuge for the prisoners of Guantánamo Bay.

Sadly, Guantánamo Bay is just the beginning of the human rights abuses perpetuated by the Bush administration.

Reprieve can report that over 10,000 individuals are currently imprisoned illegally in CIA-sponsored ‘secret prisons’ or ‘dark sites’ around the world.

These prisoners are held beyond the reach of lawyers, without trial and without rights. Some are held on ships, some in Africa, some in Europe. Some have been tortured; all are held illegally.

President Obama has pledged to close Guantánamo; a difficult but urgent task, and Reprieve will offer him every support to achieve this.

But we further urge the President to redress the grave wrong of America’s “dark sites” international network of “secret prisons”.

All secret prisons must be opened to the scrutiny of international law and all secret prisoners must be reunited with their legal rights.

Reprieve is investigating CIA sponsored “dark sites”, or secret prisons, across the world.

-ENDS-

For more information or to support our work, please contact Katherine O’Shea: katherine.oshea@reprieve.org.uk; 0207 427 1099.

Notes for editors:

Reprieve is a legal action charity, founded by Clive Stafford Smith in 1999. Reprieve uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay. We investigate, litigate and educate. Working on the frontline, we provide legal support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves, promoting the rule of law around the world, and securing each person’s right to a fair trial. In doing so, we save lives.

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