Reprieve challenges David Miliband on Guantánamo: with a special relationship comes special responsibility

January 22, 2009

Image of Ibrahim Halawa with his hands tied in a chair in a warehouse

Reprieve challenges David Miliband’s statement that Britain has done enough to lead Europe in helping President Obama to close Guantánamo Bay.Mr Miliband today ruled out taking ex-prisoners from other countries, protesting that Britain had its plate full in resettling its own nationals.

“If every country takes this attitude, President Obama will simply not be able to close Guantánamo Bay,” said Clare Algar, Executive Director of Reprieve. “The UK must lead by example by providing refuge for wronged prisoners who are no danger to anyone.”

Reprieve client Ayman al-Shurafa has been cleared for release, but as a Palestinian is currently stateless. Welcoming Ayman would demonstrate leadership in Europe and a ‘special’ level of support for President Obama.

Far from causing any trouble, the 12 ex-prisoners who resettled in Britain have lived quietly and peacefully in the community. The only exception is Moazzam Begg who travels the country tirelessly campaigning for peace and reconciliation.

“With a special relationship comes special responsibility,” said Clive Stafford Smith director of Reprieve. “Britain led Europe in prosecuting the war on terror; now we must lead by example in cleaning up the mess.”

Reprieve currently represents 30 prisoners in Guantánamo Bay, and is investigating secret military prisons across the world, with the aim of holding the US government and military to account.


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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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