Sunday, January 31, 2021

LGC Newsletter – January 2021

 Guantánamo Bay

Prior to the inauguration of new US president Joe Biden, the Pentagon took action to prevent an order being enforced that was made by a federal judge in March last year to allow Saudi prisoner Mohammed Al-Qahtani to have an independent medical examination. The purpose of the examination is to determine his mental health, which was poor when he was captured and arrived at Guantánamo, in order to determine whether it would be better for him to return to Saudi Arabia for psychiatric care. Due to the torture Al-Qahtani suffered in US detention, worsening his schizophrenia and mental health problems, charges against him were dropped and he remains held without charge or trial for over a decade. No independent medical examination has ever taken place at Guantánamo. However, Army Secretary Ryan D. McCarthy, before leaving office, “signed a two-page memorandum on Monday excluding detainees at Guantánamo from the regulation that was the basis of the court order”. As a result the Justice Department asked for the judge’s order to be thrown out. Joe Biden could reverse this decision. He has yet to take any action over Guantánamo. There are concerns that if Al-Qahtani’s examination goes ahead and he is repatriated, other prisoners may bring similar claims. On the other hand, an independent examination would reveal more about the torture he experienced.

Signalling that there is likely to be little change at Guantánamo under Biden, on 21 January, the Pentagon “announced plans to move ahead with a military trial for three men held at Guantánamo Bay who are suspected of involvement in the 2002 Bali bombings”. The trio, from Indonesia and two from Malaysia, are having charges brought against them in this case for third time and a first hearing has been set for 22 February. The Indonesian faces 8 charges and the Malaysians 9 in total. All three were victims of extraordinary rendition and were kidnapped in 2003 and tortured at various CIA secret prisons around the world before arriving at Guantánamo Bay in 2006. Their countries have resisted their repatriation and Obama, in his attempts to empty the detention centre, tried to have the Indonesian, known as Hambali, released for trial to Malaysia where he would face the death penalty. The current charges, however, are non-capital and include conspiracy, murder and terrorism.

Extraordinary Rendition

Guantánamo prisoner Abu Zubaydah is suing the British government (Foreign Office, Home Office and Attorney General) over claims that MI6 were involved in his torture interrogations that emerged in a parliamentary report by the Intelligence and Security Committee in 2019, which stated that in spite of being aware of his torture and illegal detention, the intelligence services kept sending questions to be put to him by their US counterparts up until 2006 at least. Following the 2019 report, a police investigation was launched as it provided sufficient evidence.

Abu Zubaydah was kidnapped in 2002 and tortured at various secret CIA prisons around the world before arriving at Guantánamo in 2006, where very few people have seen him or had contact with him. His family believed he was dead for many years. His case was used to capture and implicate dozens of other foreign nationals in Pakistan but the US stated that it knew he was innocent by at least 2006. Nonetheless he has remained at Guantánamo since without charge or trial. He has successfully sued Poland and Lithuania for their roles in his ordeal.


LGC Activities:

The London Guantánamo Campaign held an online day of protest on Monday 11 January 2021 to mark the nineteenth anniversary of the opening of the Guantánamo Bay detention camp. Thank you to everyone who took part and contributed to our Twitter storm.


Sunday, January 03, 2021

Nineteen years of Guantánamo!

Prisoners held at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp have been under lockdown for almost two decades! Out of a total of 780 men and boys known to have been held there, 40 remain, most of whom have never been charged or tried. They do not know why they are held there or the threat they are alleged to pose. All have been subjected to degrading treatment and/or torture and arbitrary detention.

Some of the men still held at Guantánamo

As a new president is due to enter the White House later this month, we call on you to join us on Monday 11 January to mark this anniversary with an online social media protest. Due to current tier 4 restrictions in London, this event will be held entirely online but you can join in wherever you are in the world.

Please take a photo/make a video/make a banner/share your comment with us via Facebook on our pageánamo-Campaign-114010671973111/

or Twitter @shutguantanamo with your message to Joe Biden to close Guantánamo when he takes office. If you do not use Facebook or Twitter, please email us your message and pictures: london.gtmo[at] and we will share them for you. The London Guantánamo Campaign is not on Instagram but please feel free to get the conversation going there as well with your friends. Please use the hashtag #GitmoIs19

If you are on Twitter, please join us for a Twitter storm on 11 January at 8-9pm GMT (3-4pm EST). Suggested tweets will be available on our website shortly before on the day.

Suggested tweets for the #GitmoIs19 Twitter storm. Feel free to translate and/or add your own: 

- 780 men and boys, all of them Muslim, have been imprisoned over time at Guantánamo since January 2002. #GitmoIs19


- 22 or more Guantánamo prisoners were children when they arrived there. #GitmoIs19


- Trump has pardoned convicted murderers serving in the US military or working for private military contractors involved in massacres in Iraq and Afghanistan but has only released one Guantánamo prisoner. #GitmoIs19


- 86 percent of Guantánamo prisoners were sold to the United States during a time when the U.S. military was offering large bounties for capture; commonly, $5,000 offered per man. #GitmoIs19


- 740 men have been transferred from Guantánamo (including 9 deaths). #GitmoIs19


- 40 men remain detained at #Guantánamo: 28 are not charged with any crime or offense. Six of them have been cleared for release but remain imprisoned. #GitmoIs19


- More men (9) have died at Guantánamo than have been convicted (8) by the military commissions. #GitmoIs19


- 0 senior government officials have been held accountable for the wrongful detention and torture at Guantánamo. #GitmoIs19


- 19 years on - #Guantánamo is still not closed & 40 prisoners remain, largely without charge or trial. Will @JoeBiden finally close it? @amnesty new report #GitmoIs19


- As millions of Usians queue for welfare and at foodbanks, remember it costs $13 million to keep each prisoner at #Guantánamo each year. Do you know why they are held there? #GitmoIs19


- How many US presidents does it take to close ONE illegal torture and arbitrary detention facility? #GitmoIs19


- .@joebiden already has an opportunity to hold the US accountable for the forced disappearances, secret detention and torture of former #Guantanamo prisoners - will he make a difference? #extraordinaryrendition #GitmoIs19 @humanrightsnyu


- This is how they beat, rape, starve, humiliate a confession out of you at #Guantanamo #MajidKhan #GitmoIs19


- Close #Guantanamo, end the US’ imperial wars and end the war on terror - #GitmoIs19


- The US knew #AbuZubaydah - CIA torture poster boy - was innocent by 2006 but they still tortured him horrifically and he remains at #Guantanamo today without charge or trial. Few people are allowed to see him... #GitmoIs19


- Guantánamo opened in its current war on terror incarnation on 11 January 2002. Now in its twentieth year, it’s still a thing #GitmoIs19


- Trump pardons #warcriminal murderers but allows 40 men to remain at #Guantánamo for almost 20 years, most without charge or trial #GitmoIs19


- Vaccines for Covid19 developed in under a year. Justice at #Guantánamo not even being contemplated after two decades #GitmoIs19


- Dear @JoeBiden Obama said he wanted to close #Guantanamo too and today we are marking 19 years of Guantanamo where 40 prisoners remain. What will you do to make a difference or is this just talk? #GitmoIs19


- #Guantanamo "justice": the kangaroo court where torturers get to justify #CrimesAgainstHumanity & #WarCrimes #GitmoIs19


- Will @joebiden be the fourth US president to fail to close Guantanamo or one who will make a difference? #GitmoIs19


- US can't protect its citizens against Covid because billions of $$$ in funds diverted to hold 40 men largely without charge or trial at #Guantanamo for almost 2 decades. Such are its priorities #GitmoIs19


- Dozens of states around the world were complicit in the CIA’s extraordinary rendition programme and the detention of 100s of Muslim men and boys at #Guantanamo Bay #GitmoIs19


- Who are the 40 men still at #Guantanamo? Most are held without charge or trial almost two decades on #GitmoIs19

- States around the world are silent today on the continuing operation of #Guantanamo Bay as a torture and arbitrary detention camp run by the US. That silence is bought by their complicity #GitmoIs19

#GitmoIs19 - No more anniversaries! Guantá-no-more!