Reprieve Hosts Conference on Ending the Detention of Tunisians at Guantánamo Bay

September 9, 2011

On the night the Tunisian people successfully overthrew Ben Ali’s dictatorship and began a new democratic journey, five Tunisian men had just spent their ninth anniversary of imprisonment in the notorious US naval base at Guantánamo Bay. They have had neither charge nor trial.

Reprieve are hosting a conference on 14 September 2011 to bring together key policymakers and members of civil society to discuss Tunisia’s role in bringing about the release of its citizens from Guantánamo Bay. Members of the interim government, international and national human rights activists, lawyers representing Guantánamo detainees, ex-detainees and family members have all pledged their support for this cause. The conference will examine how this support can be turned into action.Rafiq Al-Hammi, who was held in Guantánamo for nearly a decade without charge or trial, was able to return to Tunisia after the revolution. He has recently opened an electronics store and has this to say about his return: “The years I spent in detention were unimaginable. I never knew if I would be able to return to my family and my homeland, and I was never informed of why I was being held, or given a chance to defend myself at trial. Since my return to Tunisia, I have finally been reunited with my family and have been able to experience normal life again. I have very high hopes for my future here.”Conference:       09:00-13:00 Wednesday 14 September 2011-09-06Location:           Hôtel Golden Tulip, El MechtelBP3 Avenue Ouled Haffouz, 1005 El OmraneTunisSpeakers:         The conference will be introduced by a representative of the High Commission for the Realisation of the Objectives of the Revolution, Political Reform and Democratic Transition. Speakers will include representatives of Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Al Nahda, Communist Party of Tunisian Workers, Democratic Progressive Party, Congress for the Republic, Ettajdid, and the Democratic Forum for Work and Freedom. Former Guantánamo prisoners, along with family members of current/former Tunisian prisoners and Guantánamo lawyers, will also discuss their experiences.

The conference is free and open to the public.

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