Friday, June 25, 2010

Press Release: International Day in Support of Victims of Torture: Demonstration in Solidarity With Victims of Extraordinary Rendition – 26 June, 2-4p

To mark the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture (26 June each year), the London Guantánamo Campaign will hold a demonstration outside the US Embassy in London in solidarity with victims of the CIA-run extraordinary rendition programme at 2-4pm this Saturday.

Talks will be given by various speakers on the issue, including Liberal Democrat MEP Baroness Sarah Ludford, Yvonne Ridley, journalist, and John Clossick from the Stop The War Coalition among others.

In recent weeks, Foreign Minister William Hague has stated that the government will hold an inquiry into Britain’s involvement in extraordinary rendition and torture, which has been welcomed by the Council of Europe in particular. At the same time, the Baha Moussa inquiry has revealed that hooding, a technique constituting inhumane and degrading treatment banned almost forty years ago, was practiced recently by British soldiers in Iraq. More worryingly is the insistence in Britain's foreign policy for some years now on the outsourcing of torture, akin to the practice of extraordinary rendition, through the signing of memoranda of understanding on the deportation of terrorism suspects with states known to openly torture and persecute political opponents.

Aisha Maniar from the London Guantánamo Campaign says, “Torture, arbitrary detention and “disappearances”, all elements of extraordinary rendition, destroy the lives of individuals, their families and communities. The United States must put an end to its extraordinary rendition programme and more must be done by all governments to reassert their commitment to the Convention Against Torture and other international human rights law. Governments such as the US and UK must openly prove that they do not torture and do not condone the practice of torture by others. All persons, without exceptions, must be afforded the basic right to protection by the law, including the right to a fair trial and lawful interrogation. It is unfortunate that in 2010 we still need to demand such basic rights from our democratically-elected governments”.

Notes to editors:
Extraordinary rendition is an extralegal practice introduced by Bill Clinton’s administration in 1995 whereby individuals are seized in one country and transferred to imprisonment in a third country where many have alleged, and in some cases proved, to have been tortured. As well as alleged direct complicity in torture and hosting of illegal detention facilities, many countries have colluded in the process by allowing so-called torture flights to refuel or pass through their territories. Many thousands of individuals from all over the world are thought to have been subject to the programme.

On 26 June 1987, the United Nations Convention Against Torture took effect and the General Assembly selected this date as International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. Commenting on the significance of this date, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in 1998, "This is a day on which we pay our respects to those who have endured the unimaginable. This is an occasion for the world to speak up against the unspeakable. It is long overdue that a day be dedicated to remembering and supporting the many victims and survivors of torture around the world."[1]

The London Guantánamo Campaign campaigns for justice for all prisoners at Guantánamo bay, for the closure of this and other secret prisons, and an end to the practice of extraordinary rendition.

For more details, please call Aisha on 07809 757 176 or e-mail

London Guantánamo Campaign
25 June 2010

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