Rendition Monologues: personal accounts from victims of ‘extraordinary rendition’ to be performed at Southwark Playhouse

May 18, 2009

Image of a spotlight in a dark room

Reprieve has joined forces with iceandfire theatre company to draw attention to the plight of victims of torture and abuse under the CIA’s ‘extraordinary rendition’ programme.

We are delighted to announce two events designed to raise awareness of this illegal practice and to encourage calls for both the UK and US governments to conduct enquiries into renditions:

Monday 18th May: Rendition Monologues viral video clip released A video clip featuring a two-minute segment of the Rendition Monologues script, with actors speaking directly to the viewer about the way in which they were snatched by the CIA, may be viewed now at www.renditionmonologues.org.uk

Sunday 24th May at 8pm: Rendition Monologues performed at Southwark Playhouse The play recounts the harrowing first-hand testimonies of victims of rendition, including the story of Binyam Mohamed, who recently returned to the UK from Guantanamo Bay. Rendition Monologues will also be performed 17 – 23 August at the Edinburgh Festival, St John’s Church, Princes St.

Bisher al-Rawi, a former Guantánamo prisoner, saw one of the first performances of Rendition Monologues in London last June. He was deeply affected: “Really, I am almost lost for words. The show was really very moving, scarily so. The performance really brought it home. I was almost living through their experiences and mine as well.”

Christine Bacon, co-Artistic Director of iceandfire, says: “Because of the secrecy surrounding this issue, it tends to be cloaked in a conspiracy-theory haze. Rendition Monologues aims to remind people about the human beings behind the headlines and contribute to a full reckoning of the human rights abuses committed in the name of the ‘War on Terror’.”

Speaking about Rendition Monologues, Clive Stafford Smith, Director of Reprieve, said:

“If anyone doubts the shocking reality of rendition, they should see this performance. The word ‘rendition’ sounds innocuous enough, but what it actually means is kidnapping and torture, without any kind of legal process whatsoever. Reprieve’s client, Binyam Mohamed – one of several prisoners whose stories are brought to life in this piece – knows all about rendition’s true face. Sent to Morocco by the Americans, he confessed to all manner of crimes, but only after 18 months of torture, when he repeatedly had his penis cut with a razor.”

-ENDS-

For more information please contact Katherine O’Shea at Reprieve’s Press Office katherine.oshea@reprieve.org.uk 020 7427 1099.

Notes for Editors:

iceandfire explores human rights stories through performance. The company was founded in 2003 by playwright Sonja Linden inspired by her seven years as writer in residence at the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture. Over the last six years they have become a theatre company with a distinct, contemporary voice creating work of excellence across our four work strands: production, outreach, education and participation. www.iceandfire.co.uk.

Actors for Human Rights is iceandfire’s national outreach network, made up of over 300 professional actors who are dedicated to drawing public attention to a range of contemporary human rights concerns. The performers involved donate their time and their profile to encourage public acceptance of human rights and to give voice to people whose basic human rights have been violated. www.iceandfire.co.uk/afhr

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.’

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