Thursday, January 11, 2018
MEDIA RELEASE: London Guantánamo Campaign to Mark Guantánamo 16th Anniversary with US Embassy Candlelight Vigil, Thursday 11 January 2018, 6-8pm
For immediate release: Thursday 11 January 2018
The London Guantánamo Campaign  and human rights activists will mark the sixteenth anniversary of the opening of the Guantánamo Bay detention camp with a candlelight vigil  outside the US Embassy, Grosvenor Square, at 6-8pm on Thursday 11 January 2018.
As part of this solidarity action, activists will hold up images of the 41 men who remain at Guantánamo Bay, largely without charge, trial or the prospect of release .
Aisha Maniar, organiser from the London Guantánamo Campaign, says, "While it is a positive development that Donald Trump has not gone through with his pre-election threat to load up Guantánamo with “bad dudes” , far less attention has been paid to the fact that many of Trump’s more noxious policies have been facilitated by the actions of previous presidents. This includes sixteen years of the continued operation of the Guantánamo Bay prison camp and the "war on terror" more broadly.
“In addition, the rights violating practices surrounding Guantanamo are now a model for the detention and incarceration polices of the US and other states. Plans to expand immigration detention for undocumented migrants and the deplorable conditions in such facilities  are connected to Guantánamo’s origins and existence, as Trump’s initial travel ban included only Iran in addition to the states in which the resettlement of Guantánamo prisoners  was already prohibited.
“Elsewhere, the fact that none of the remaining prisoners were captured on the battlefield by the US military and that eighty-six percent were sold into US custody by Afghan militias and the Pakistani military for cash bounties  finds its contemporary resonance in the current brutal slave trade in migrants in Libya. It is the failure of the international community, and not just of the US, to act to close Guantánamo that has helped to legitimise this status quo.
“With the US Embassy due to move imminently to new premises in south London, after over a decade of sustained and continuous protest against Guantánamo at this famous site, it is likely to be our last large protest there. It is a shame that the US has been able to build and transfer its British embassy faster than it is able to close Guantánamo.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. The London Guantánamo Campaign was set up in 2006 and 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. http://londonguantanamocampaign.blogspot.co.uk/
2. For more details of the event, see our website http://londonguantanamocampaign.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/11-january-2018-candlelight-vigil-to.html
This event will be preceded by another anniversary vigil in Trafalgar Square at 12-3pm organised by the Guantanamo Justice Campaign
6. Originally Yemen, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Iran and Somalia; Iraq and Sudan were later removed from the list.