Send a book to Mohammed el Gharani for World Book Day

March 3, 2009

Image of Mohammed el Gharani holding his baby

Mohammed el Gharani was just 14 years old when he was wrongfully imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay. Despite being ordered to be released by a federal judge, he is still there five years later – the youngest remaining juvenile.

Although Mohammed has spent his school years in a notoriously brutal prison, he loves books – particularly history. He recently told Reprieve attorneys that he is keen to read as much as possible to prepare for his release.

Show your support for Mohammed by sending him your favourite book for World Book Day.

We hope that sending many books all at once will support Mohammed at this very difficult time and remind the officials at Guantánamo of his youth, his innocence and their legal obligation to release him.

How to send a book

  • 1) Choose a book – one of your own, second-hand or new is fine
  • 2) Write one sentence on why you have chosen it
  • 3) Call or email Reprieve – we will collect it from you and deliver it to Mohammed in Guantánamo Bay.
  • Alternatively you can post it to us at ‘A Book for Mohammed el Gharani’, Reprieve, PO Box 52742, London EC4P 4WS.
  • We need all books to arrive by Saturday March 14 in time for our next Guantanámo visit.

-ENDS-

If you can help or need further information, please contact Katherine O’Shea on 020 7427 1099 or katherine.oshea@reprieve.org.uk.

BACKGROUND NOTES FOR EDITORS:

Mohammed el Gharani is the youngest remaining juvenile in Guantanamo Bay. He was just 14 years old when he was seized by the Pakistani authorities and sold to the US military for a bounty.

As a Chad national living in Saudi Arabia, his opportunities for education were extremely limited, so Mohammed had left his home for Pakistan, hoping to learn English and train to work with computers.

Seized in a random raid on a mosque, targeting Arabs and Africans, in Pakistan in October 2001, he is one of 22 juveniles held in Guantánamo Bay since the prison opened in January 2002, according to lists compiled by the US Department of Defense.

Mohammed has endured terrible abuse, first in Pakistani custody, and for the last six and half years in US custody, first at the US prison at Kandahar airport and then at Guantánamo, where, he has explained, he has been hung from his wrists on 30 occasions. On one occasion a heavily armoured riot squad slammed his head into the floor of his cell, breaking one of his teeth, and on another occasion a cigarette was stubbed out on his arm by an interrogator.

Mohammed has said that he received constant abuse from some guards at Guantánamo, much stemming from his vocal objection to being called a “nigger” by US military personnel.

As a result of the violence against him he became deeply depressed, and tried to commit suicide on several occasions.

The FBI conducted an inquiry into Mohammed’s mistreatment. Copies of their report and Judge Leon’s full judgement are available on request.

Notes to 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 Guantánamo Bay, working on behalf of prisoners facing the death penalty, and conducting ongoing investigations into the rendition and the secret detention of ‘ghost prisoners’ in the so-called ‘war on terror.’

ReprievePO Box 52742London EC4P 4WSTel: 020 7353 4640Fax: 020 7353 4641Email: info@reprieve.org.ukWebsite: www.reprieve.org.uk

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; Chair: Lord Bingham; Patrons: Alan Bennett, Julie Christie, Martha Lane Fox, Gordon Roddick, Jon Snow, Marina Warner