Sunday, May 16, 2010

What will the new government do about Guantánamo Bay and extraordinary rendition?‏

Following the parliamentary elections on 6 May and today’s formation of a new Conservative/Liberal Democrat government, we ask you to write to your new/returning MP to ask them where they stand on the issues of Guantánamo Bay and an inquiry into Britain’s role in extraordinary rendition and torture abroad. We would like to know the views of new MPs and the new government on these issues and what they plan to do. We would also like to remind MPs that these issues have not gone away and still matter. Please find a model letter below which you can cut, paste and e-mail to them. As always, you call write by snail mail, e-mail or fax to your parliamentary representatives and you can find out who they are at: simply by putting in your postcode. We would like to know what response you get so please get in touch with the London Guantánamo Campaign at: if you hear from them.

Thank you,

Model letter to MPs:

As my newly re/elected MP*, I am writing to you to ask what measures you will take in this new parliamentary session with respect to two matters: the closure of Guantánamo Bay and the need for an inquiry into the involvement of the UK, and its government, in extraordinary rendition and torture abroad. I am sure that you appreciate that after almost a decade, these matters are urgent.

With respect to Guantánamo Bay, I would like to know what measures the government is likely to take to secure the release of Shaker Aamer, a British resident from Battersea, whose release was sought by the Labour government in 2007, and who has been found by the Americans to be no threat. Several others whose return was sought at the same time have since returned. It appears that Mr. Aamer continues to languish in Guantánamo Bay, without charge or trial, because of lack of political pressure for his return from the previous government. What steps will you take to ensure his return?

What do you believe Britain could be doing now to help President Obama close Guantánamo Bay, where almost 180 prisoners still remain?

Prior to the election, calls were made for an independent judicial investigation into Britain’s role in extraordinary rendition and torture abroad and very shortly thereafter new allegations have emerged of collusion in the torture and abuse of British citizens in Bangladesh. The Liberal Democrats have pledged an inquiry; the Conservatives did not rule one out, and as recently as March this year the cross-party JCHR strongly urged that one take place. Do you believe such an inquiry should be carried out? If so, what should be its parameters?
British airspace has been used for the overflying and refuelling of “torture” flights. What measures do you believe should be taken to investigate this and prevent future incidents?

Several court cases are pending against the intelligence services for involvement in torture abroad and various parliamentary statements reveal ministerial knowledge of involvement in rendition and torture; what measures should be taken against public servants, of all levels, who knowingly colluded in breaches of international and domestic law?

I look forward to your response.

Yours faithfully,

* Delete as applicable

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