Bill Bailey endorses Lush and Reprieve’s initiative to close Guantánamo

7.3.08

On Wednesday March 5th, comedians Bill Bailey, Kevin Eldon and Robin Ince donned oversize pants, emblazoned with the slogan “Fair Trial My Arse”, and joined staff and press officers from cosmetics company Lush, and representatives of legal action charity Reprieve, for a photo call outside Lush’s store at 80-82 Regent Street, London. The slogan was coined after US authorities accused Reprieve’s Director, Clive Stafford Smith, of smuggling contraband underwear in to his clients at Guantánamo last year.

Kevin Eldon, Bill Bailey & Robin Ince

The occasion was the launch of an initiative aimed at raising awareness of the plight of the prisoners held without charge in Guantánamo Bay. Lush’s Mark Constantine recently met Clive Stafford Smith, and Lush then developed a “Guantánamo orange” fizzing bath ballistic — named “Guantánamo Garden”, after attempts by a few privileged prisoners to grow plants in Guantanamo’s inhospitable soils — which dissolves to reveal a photo of either Al-Jazeera cameraman Sami al-Haj or British resident Binyam Mohamed, and a link to Reprieve’s website. Both men have been imprisoned without charge or trial for nearly six years.

As a further part of the campaign, Lush’s stores nationwide are featuring a window display containing a pair of truly enormous orange pants, which bears the “Fair Trial My Arse” message, and are also featuring Sami and Binyam on their Charity Pot hand and body cream (with 100% of the proceeds going to Reprieve) and on posters in the windows, mocked up like newspaper front pages, with the headline “A Fair Trial for Sami/Binyam.”

Speaking of the promotion, Clive Stafford Smith explained, “Public pressure is the most effective tool to secure the release of men held in Guantánamo for years without charge or trial. Promotions like this raise awareness and help encourage people to call for the closure of Guantánamo. Reprieve is delighted that the staff at Lush have taken up the fight for justice for Sami al-Haj, Binyam Mohamed, and all the men who remain prisoner to this day without a day in court.”

For a short film about the London promotion, click here.
For a short film about the Birmingham promotion, click here.

Andy is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK), and was the Communications Officer for Reprieve in 2008. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed, and see here for my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, published in March 2009.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, filmmaker, photographer and Guantanamo expert
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