After a summer hiatus, the first in a series of autumn screenings of “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo,” the documentary film directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, takes place at 11 am on Sunday September 12 at the Renoir Cinema in the Brunswick Centre, London WC1 (nearest tube Russell Square, and see a map here).
Screening the day after the 9th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, this is a timely reminder of President Obama’s failure to close the prison (despite promising to do so by January this year), and also serves as a reminder that one of the men featured in the film, Shaker Aamer, a British resident with a British wife and children, is still held, despite being cleared for release in 2007. As with previous screenings (see here for details), a letter will be made available, for viewers to send to foreign secretary William Hague demanding the immediate return of Shaker Aamer, and a copy of a letter I prepared back in May can be found here.
The screening is organized by the London Socialist Film Co-Op, and tickets cost £10. (£8 concessions). Discounts are available for members (see details here). The film is showing in a double bill with “A Place In The City” (Jenny Morgan, South Africa, 2008), a 30-minute documentary examining the struggle against forcible eviction, and for decent services, initiated by inhabitants of a vast shack settlement in and around Durban. The screenings will be followed by a Q&A session with Andy Worthington, Polly Nash and Jenny Morgan, and, hopefully, former Guantánamo prisoner Omar Deghayes.
Further screenings of “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” are being lined up for October and November, and details will follow soon.
About the film
“[T]his is a strong movie examining the imprisonment and subsequent torture of those falsely accused of anti-American conspiracy.”
Joe Burnham, Time Out
“Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” is a new documentary film, directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, telling the story of Guantánamo (and including sections on extraordinary rendition and secret prisons) with a particular focus on how the Bush administration turned its back on domestic and international laws, how prisoners were rounded up in Afghanistan and Pakistan without adequate screening (and often for bounty payments), and why some of these men may have been in Afghanistan or Pakistan for reasons unconnected with militancy or terrorism (as missionaries or humanitarian aid workers, for example).
The film is based around interviews with former prisoners (Moazzam Begg and, in his first major interview, Omar Deghayes, who was released in December 2007), lawyers for the prisoners (Clive Stafford Smith in the UK and Tom Wilner in the US), and journalist and author Andy Worthington, and also includes appearances from Guantánamo’s former Muslim chaplain James Yee, Shakeel Begg, a London-based Imam, and the British human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce.
Focusing on the stories of three particular prisoners — Shaker Aamer (who is still held), Binyam Mohamed (who was released in February 2009) and Omar Deghayes — “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” provides a powerful rebuke to those who believe that Guantánamo holds “the worst of the worst” and that the Bush administration was justified in responding to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 by holding men neither as prisoners of war, protected by the Geneva Conventions, nor as criminal suspects with habeas corpus rights, but as “illegal enemy combatants” with no rights whatsoever.
Andy Worthington 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 of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed (and I can also be found on Facebook and Twitter). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in July 2010, details about the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington), and my definitive Guantánamo habeas list, and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.
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