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Guantanamo Torture & Imprisonment Public Meeting this Thursday

Mike D | 14.11.2006 14:45 | Anti-racism | Repression | Social Struggles | Birmingham

There will be a public meeting at 7.30pm this Thursday 16th November 2006 at Carr's Lane Church in Birmingham City Centre, to debate the issues of Guantanamo and the deterioration of human and civil rights in this country with their elected representatives.

Birmingham Guantanamo campaign has been collecting signatures to petition Birmingham Council to pass a resolution demanding that the British government act on behalf of these residents, obtain their release from Guantanamo and return them to the safety of their homes and families in Britain. Birmingham Council passed a similar resolution demanding Moazzam Begg’s release prior to his return to Britain. We are now asking the Council to extend that resolution to include British residents still held at Guantanamo. The petition will be presented to the leaders of the council from all political groups at a Public Meeting arranged for the 16th November 2006, 7.30 pm at Carrs Lane Church Centre. This will be an opportunity for Birmingham residents to debate the issues of Guantanamo and the deterioration of human and civil rights in this country, with their elected representatives. Speakers will include Dr David Nichols who has been campaigning against the forced feeding of detainees at Guantanamo. Earlier this year three detainees died at Guantanamo in suspicious circumstances and as yet there has been no independent enquiry to establish the cause of these deaths.

Since the release of British citizens, including Moazzam Begg, from Guantanamo Bay the British Government appears to have washed its hands of the matter. However, there are at least eight British residents still held there, without charge or trial, all of whom have lived in the UK for many years and have family members who are UK nationals. That is in addition to the over 450 individuals from other countries, all held illegally, contravening the rule of law and universally recognised human rights, in a place described as ‘the gulag of our times’ by Amnesty International. The British government has so far failed to take responsibility for the safety and security of its own residents and refuses to take any action to obtain their release.

Most of the British residents currently held at Guantanamo came to Britain to seek sanctuary. For example, Omar Deghayes, one of the British residenst still held in Guantanamo Bay, escaped as a child with his family from Libya after his father, a lawyer, was executed by the the Ghaddafi regime for defending trade unionists. His sister, Amani Deghayes, a British citizen, said in a recent statement ‘We are very sad and disappointed that we are still talking about the release of my brother Omar from Guantanamo after all this time. It’s been over four years of detention and torture which has shocked us to the core…… we hear of his deliberate blinding, of his constant beatings resulting in various broken limbs. We hear of simulated drownings, starvation and thirst….’ She talks of her despair at the coldness and inhumanity of the British Government who refuse to take any action on behalf of Omar and the other British residents, whilst they maintain that they respect human rights. This she contrasts this with ‘the warmth and sympathy that comes from ordinary people who give up so much to support our cause.’

This Public Meeting, organised by the Birmingham Guantanamo Campaign, will be an opportunity for the citizens of Birmingham to question their elected representatives on the failure of the British government to actively support their residents against violations of international human rights and imprisonment without trial.

Issued on behalf of the Birmingham Guantanamo Campaign
Naeem Malik
Mobile 07721 427690

Mike D
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