Last week, the good folks at Cageprisoners sent an open letter to Gordon Brown, the U.K.'s new Prime Minister. Tony Blair's complicity in the Bush administration's crimes destroyed his moral and political standing in British public opinion. Mr. Brown should now do the right thing, both by standing up for British residents in Guantánamo as well using whatever influence he has with the American government to help close the prison camp and end the injustice of indefinite detention for all of Guantánamo's inmates.
The Right Honourable Gordon Brown PM
10 Downing Street
Dear Prime Minister
We, the undersigned, relatives of British residents detained in Guantanamo Bay detention facility, former Guantanamo prisoners, lawyers for the prisoners, and concerned individuals, call upon you to use all means at your disposal to obtain the return to this country of all British residents illegally detained at Guantanamo Bay. All have made homes in this country; some, like Omar Deghayes after fleeing possible torture and death in Libya. They have now been detained for five years or more without charge or trial, in a prison where UN officials have documented torture and abuse. We are very concerned about their physical and mental wellbeing.
Today Americans celebrate their Independence Day, rightly highlighting the concepts of equality, liberty and rights enshrined in their Constitution. Today, the Detention Facility at Guantanamo Bay sadly celebrates its 2000th day. The Guantanamo Bay prisoners are denied those cherished rights: the ‘unalienable rights’ to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’, the rights to a speedy trial, humane treatment and due process contained in the US Bill of Rights. Instead, 375 people are still subjected to arbitrary and indefinite imprisonment, denied the rights that mark civilised society and the rule of law. This is having a devastating effect on the physical and mental health of the detainees. At least four detainees have died within the last 13 months. We are marking this day with the launch of an exhibition and public meeting on Guantanamo at the House of Commons and welcome you to attend.
Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell recently said he would have Guantanamo closed 'this afternoon' rather than tomorrow. We call for you, likewise, to add your voice to the calls for its closure.
No-one has been released from Guantanamo as a result of a legal process. The British government’s refusal to act on behalf of the British residents leaves them in a legal black hole. We ask that the British Government accept its moral responsibility for these men and negotiate for them to be reunited with their families here or in a safe place of their choosing.
We urge you to make this a priority in the first days of your premiership. To ignore such abuses will set back any ‘war on terrorism’. Please do everything you can to bring back the British residents before their health and lives are irretrievably damaged.
CLICK HERE to read the letter with its full list of signatories