“This is a strong movie examining the imprisonment and subsequent torture of those falsely accused of anti-American conspiracy.”
Joe Burnham, Time Out
One year ago, when Polly Nash and I launched our documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo,” it still seemed just about conceivable that, by now, it would be something of a historical document. However, in January, President Obama failed to keep his promise to close Guantánamo within a year, and, ten months on, with no new deadline set, there is no sign of when, if ever, the prison will close, leaving the 174 remaining prisoners in a distressing limbo as the ninth anniversary of the prison’s opening approaches. With Republicans once more in charge of the House of Representatives, the task of closing Guantánamo has become much more difficult, and it is a bitter disappointment that Obama and his party lacked the courage or the conviction to act more decisively on Guantánamo when they had the chance.
As a result, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo,” which punctures the myths about Guantanamo holding “the worst of the worst,” telling the story of the prison’s chaos and cruelty, and focusing on three British residents — Shaker Aamer (who is still held, despite being cleared for release in 2007), and Binyam Mohamed and Omar Deghayes (both released) — remains, sadly, as important and as pertinent as ever.
Because Shaker Aamer is still held, the focus of these screenings will be very much on his case, and letters will be made available, which viewers can send to the foreign secretary William Hague, demanding his immediate return to the UK, where his British wife and children live (a template of a letter can be found here). Distressingly, the coalition government is peddling the same lies as its predecessor regarding Shaker’s continued presence at Guantánamo — that he is still regarded as a “security risk” by the US authorities — even though it is well within the government’s abilities to monitor him on his return if this should be required.
As I have explained over the last year, the truth appears to be that the British and American governments are in no hurry to release Shaker, because he knows too much about British complicity in torture in Afghanistan, about the troubling deaths of three prisoners at Guantánamo in June 2006, and about the dark workings of Guantánamo in general. This is a truly disgraceful state of affairs, and is made all the worse because the government’s plans to hold a judicial inquiry into British complicity in torture (announced by David Cameron in July) will be worthless if it takes place while Shaker is still held.
Below is the list of new screenings in November and December. Unless otherwise noted, the screenings are free.
Wednesday November 17, 7.30 pm: Film screening – “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo.” Followed by Q&A.
Blue Sky Cafe, Ambassador Hall, Rear of 236 High Street, Bangor, LL57 1PA.
With Andy Worthington.
This screening is organized by Occasional Cinema and Bangor Peace Group. Tickets cost £3 and food will be served.
For further information, please contact Linda Rogers. Also see the Blue Sky Cafe website.
Monday November 22, 6.30 pm: Film screening – “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo.” Followed by Q&A.
The Ultimate Picture Palace, Jeune Street, Oxford, OX4 1BN.
With Andy Worthington and Polly Nash.
This screening was a fundraiser for the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture and was organized by the Oxford regional group. Tickets cost £6.
For further information, please contact Rosemary Shurgold on 01865 722820 or by email. Also see the website here, and see here for the Medical Foundation’s main website.
Friday December 10, 7 pm: Film screening – “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo.” Followed by Q&A.
Roehampton University, London, SW15 5PU.
With Andy Worthington and Polly Nash.
This screening is part of the Roehampton Human Rights Film Festival, organized by the Human Rights Society, and is taking place on the 60th anniversary of Human Rights Day, which began on the second anniversary of the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Sadly, the human rights course at Roehampton faces the axe as a result of the Tory-led coalition government’s unprecedented assault on funding for arts and humanities subjects. Please sign the petition here opposing the closure of the course.
For further information, please contact Marina Manners.
Saturday December 11, 4.30 pm: Film screening – “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo.” Followed by Q&A.
Battersea Arts Centre, Lavender Hill, London, SW11 5TN.
With Omar Deghayes, Andy Worthington and Polly Nash.
This screening is part of “A Day for Shaker Aamer,” organized by the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign in his home borough of Wandsworth. The day begins at 12 noon, with a demonstration at Ponton Road, Nine Elms, London SW8, the site of the new US embassy. At 12.30 those gathered will march to Battersea Arts Centre for a public meeting, beginning at 2 pm, with speakers including Ken Livingstone, Moazzam Begg, Victoria Brittain, Jeremy Corbyn, Lindsey German, Kate Hudson, Gareth Peirce and Yvonne Ridley. Throughout the day, there will also be stalls and displays in the Great Hall.
For further information or to book a stall, please phone the SSAC on 07756 493877 or email. Also see the Facebook page here, and see here for the BAC website.
Wednesday December 15, 6 pm: Film screening – “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo.” Followed by Q&A.
Showroom & Workstation, 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX.
With Omar Deghayes and Andy Worthington.
This screening is organized by Showroom and the Centre for Peace History at Sheffield University.
For further information, please contact Michael S. Foley, and also see the Showroom website.
All these details are also available on the dedicated page for the UK tour of the film, which began in February, and will continue into 2011.
Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” is directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, and tells the story of Guantánamo (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.
““Outside the Law” is essential viewing for anyone interested in Guantánamo and other prisons. The film explores what happens when a nation with a reputation for morality and justice acts out of impulse and fear. To my mind, Andy Worthington is a quintessential force for all things related to the journalism of GTMO and its inhabitants. As a military lawyer for Fayiz al-Kandari, I am constantly reminded that GTMO is ongoing and that people still have an opportunity to make history today by becoming involved. “Outside the Law” is a fantastic entry point into the arena that is GTMO.”
Lt. Col. Barry Wingard, attorney for Guantánamo prisoner Fayiz al-Kandari
“I thought the film was absolutely brilliant and the most powerful, moving and hard-hitting piece I have seen at the cinema. I admire and congratulate you for your vital work, pioneering the truth and demanding that people sit up and take notice of the outrageous human rights injustices perpetrated against detainees at Guantánamo and other prisons.”
Harriet Wong, Medical Foundation for Care of Victims of Torture
“[T]hought-provoking, harrowing, emotional to watch, touching and politically powerful.”
“Last Saturday I went to see Polly Nash and Andy Worthington’s harrowing documentary, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” at London’s BFI. The film knits together narratives so heart-wrenching I half wish I had not heard them. Yet the camaraderie between the detainees and occasional humorous anecdotes … provide a glimpse into the wit, courage and normalcy of the men we are encouraged to perceive as monsters.”
Sarah Gillespie, singer/songwriter
“The film was great — not because I was in it, but because it told the legal and human story of Guantánamo more clearly than anything I have seen.”
Tom Wilner, US attorney who represented the Guantánamo prisoners before the US Supreme Court
“The film was fantastic! It has the unique ability of humanizing those who were detained at Guantánamo like no other I have seen.”
Sari Gelzer, Truthout
“Engaging and moving, and personal. The first [film] to really take you through the lives of the men from their own eyes.”
Debra Sweet, The World Can’t Wait
“I am part of a community of folks from the US who attempted to visit the Guantánamo prison in December 2005, and ended up fasting for a number of days outside the gates. We went then, and we continue our work now, because we heard the cries for justice from within the prison walls. As we gathered tonight as a community, we watched “Outside the Law,” and by the end, we all sat silent, many with tears in our eyes and on our faces. I have so much I’d like to say, but for now I wanted to write a quick note to say how grateful we are that you are out, and that you are speaking out with such profound humanity. I am only sorry what we can do is so little, and that so many remain in the prison.”
Matt Daloisio, Witness Against Torture
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, currently on tour in the UK, and available on DVD here), and my definitive Guantánamo habeas list, and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.
Hi Andy, in Bangor we have made a poster to publicise, you can view it here:-
Thanks, Rick. Excellent work. Looking forward to meeting you.
[…] Andy Worthington and others involved with the film are doing more showings which you can find on his website here. […]
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