Seeking homes for Guantánamo’s homeless in Sweden

January 25, 2010

Reprieve has today taken the ‘Obama needs EU!’ tour to Sweden in a bid to encourage the government to provide a safe haven for Guantánamo’s homeless inmates.

Sweden has already shown its humanitarian spirit by providing refuge for thousands of Iraqis. We hope the government will show similar leadership within Europe by offering homes to these vulnerable men.

Of the 196 prisoners remaining in Guantánamo, approximately 50 face torture or persecution if returned to their home country. These men are refugees from known rights-abusing states like Algeria, China, Libya, Russia, Syria and Tunisia. 

Such prisoners remain detained because they have no safe place to go; their plight is one of the most significant obstacles in closing down the facilities in Guantánamo Bay.

Polly Rossdale, of Reprieve’s Life After Guantánamo team, said: 

“Stateless prisoners like Ayman al Shurafa remain a serious headache for President Obama. Cleared for release since 2007, Ayman’s Palestinian and Saudi background has rendered him effectively homeless. He remains imprisoned because of ongoing wrangling over where he belongs. We hope the Swedish government will help President Obama by offering this unlucky prisoner a home.”

For more information please contact Katherine O’Shea at Reprieve’s Press Office: 020 7427 1099/ 07931592674 or visit

Notes 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 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.’

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