From February 1 to 5, 2011, Moazzam Begg, former Guantánamo prisoner and director of the NGO Cageprisoners, and Andy Worthington, investigative journalist and author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison, will be visiting Poland for a tour of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo,” which Worthington co-directed with filmmaker Polly Nash. The Polish version of the film, with subtitles, is entitled, “Poza Prawem: Echa z Guantánamo.”
Described as “a powerful film that has helped ensure that Guantánamo and the men unlawfully held there have not been forgotten” by Kate Allen, the director of Amnesty International UK, and as “a strong movie examining the imprisonment and subsequent torture of those falsely accused of anti-American conspiracy” by Time Out, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” 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 Omar Deghayes), lawyers for the prisoners (Clive Stafford Smith, the director of Reprieve, and Tom Wilner, who was Counsel of Record to the Guantánamo prisoners in their cases before the US Supreme Court), 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) and released prisoners Binyam Mohamed 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.
The tour, organized by Anna Minkiewicz, a supporter of Andy Worthington’s work and that of Cageprisoners, is backed by Le Monde Diplomatique in Poland, with additional support from Amnesty International Poland, and is intended to raise awareness of the truth about Guantánamo — that very few of the men held are alleged to have had any connection to terrorist actvities, and that the prison’s very existence is an affront to established laws and treaties, and to common notions of fairness and decency.
The organizers also intend the tour to provide the impetus for parliamentarians to recognize that there are, currently, up to 31 men in Guantánamo who have been cleared for release, but who cannot be repatriated because they face a credible risk of torture or other ill-treatment in their home countries, and to press for Poland to join 15 other countries — including Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Switzerland — in offering new homes to some of these men.
We also anticipate that the tour will provide an opportunity for timely discussions about the Polish government’s complicity in the establishment of a secret CIA prison in Poland, following the announcement on January 20 that the “high-value detainee” Abu Zubaydah has been granted “victim” status by the Polish Prosecutor in connection with an ongoing investigation into the prison, at Stare Kiejkuty, near Szymany. This follows the granting of “victim” status to another “high-value detainee,” Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, in October last year.
Also showing will be two short animated films by Afghan filmmaker Said Mohsen Hossaini.
Information about the tour is available below.
For further information, or to arrange interviews, please contact Andy Worthington. The contacts in Poland are Anna Minkiewicz, Przemyslaw Wielgosz, the chief editor of the Polish edition of Le Monde Diplomatique and, at Amnesty International, press officer Aleksandra Minkiewicz.
Please note that other speakers are still to be confirmed, and please also note that Moazzam Begg will only be in Poland on February 1 and 2.
Tuesday February 1, 15:00 hrs: Press conference to discuss Guantánamo and the secret CIA prison in Poland with Moazzam Begg, Andy Worthington and Bartlomiej Jankowski.
Kino Muranów, ul. Gen. Andersa 1 (Plac Bankowy, metro “Ratusz”), 00-147, Warszawa.
Subject to final confirmation, Moazzam Begg and Andy Worthington will be joined for the press conference on Tuesday by Bartlomiej Jankowski, the lawyer for Abu Zubaydah. The organizers also hope that Mikołaj Pietrzak, the lawyer for Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, and Irmina Pacho of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, which played a major role last summer in exposing flight records demonstrating the movement of prisoners to and from the prison, will also be available to discuss this crucial matter of international significance.
Tuesday February 1, 20:00 hrs: Film screening – “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo,” in association with the Polish edition of Le Monde Diplomatique and Amnesty International Poland.
Followed by Q&A with Moazzam Begg, Andy Worthington, Bartlomiej Jankowski, the lawyer for Abu Zubaydah, and Draginja Nadażdin, director, Amnesty International Poland.
Kino Muranów, ul. Gen. Andersa 1 (Plac Bankowy, metro “Ratusz”), 00-147, Warszawa.
See the website here or email.
Media partner: międzynarodowy kolektyw Globale (Berlin-Montevideo-Warszawa). Please contact Bartek Kurzyca on (48) 515 603 907 or by email.
Wednesday February 2, 18:00 hrs: Film screening – “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo.” Followed by Q&A with Moazzam Begg, Andy Worthington and Wojciech Makowski, Amnesty International Poland.
Kino studyjne „Kinematograf”, Pl. Zwycięstwa 1, Łódź.
Phone: (48) 42 674 0957 (contacts are Anna Michalska or Jakub Sas) or see the website here, and see here for a map.
Media partner: The local branch of Krytyka Polityczna. Please contact: Marek Jedliński.
Thursday February 3, 20:00 hrs: Film screening – “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo.”
Followed by Q&A with Andy Worthington and Draginja Nadażdin, director, Amnesty International Poland.
Kino Rialto, ul. Dąbrowskiego 38, Poznań.
Phone: (48) 61 847 5399 or email Piotr Zakens (also on 600 254 502). Also see the website here.
Friday February 4, 18:00 hrs: Film screening – “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo.” Followed by Q&A with Andy Worthington and ex-MEP Józef Pinior.
Kino Warszawa, ul. Piłsudskiego 64, Wrocław.
Please note that Józef Pinior was a member of the EU commission which investigated EU involvement in rendition and secret prisons.
Phone: (48) 071 342 1246.
Media partner: Kolektyw Falanster. Contact: Aneta Jerska. Also with support from the Odra Film Institution and Amnesty International Wrocław.
Saturday February 5, evening, 20:00 hrs: Film screening – “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo.”
Followed by Q&A with Andy Worthington and Anna Minkiewicz.
Kino Agrafka, ul. Krowoderska 8, Kraków.
See the website here. or phone (48) 12 430 0179 or mobile: 57 123 233.
Media partner: Fundacja Cyrk Edison. Contact: Robert Skrzydlewski.
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 available on DVD here), my definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all my articles, and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.
This reminded me to give feedback on the film. I can’t say I loved it, but only because of the subject matter. A very good film. Having widely read this site, there wasn’t much new information to me, so I’m definitely not a typical viewer. I can only imagine how a neophyte would react to all this info for the first time presented this way. I can say that this film had to be made. Visuals and people are vital storytelling tools.
I just found Talking Dog’s site from your mention. From his interview with Clive, the true fact is highlighted that the story needs a face, a person, to reach more people. Omar, Moazzam, Binyam and Shaker’s stories make this film powerful. In particular, Omar’s last scene struck me. I don’t know about in Britain, but my experience previous to lots of reading was that I’d heard of Binyam because of the specific torture he received and heard of Moazzam because of the AI dust-up. That’s tragic. Keep showing this film!
One technical note, the recorded volume was very, very low. I had to turn up the telly to full volume to hear it.
Thanks for the feedback. I passed your technical advice onto Polly, and also posted your comments as feedback on the film’s main page, if that’s OK:
On Facebook, Jack Cajones Jacksie wrote:
Ahmad Belal wrote:
good luck Andy.
Sylvia Martin wrote:
thank you, Andy
Willy Bach wrote:
This is an excellent idea whose time has come. All the acolyte countries that have been goaded, bribed and blackmailed into hosting these odious rendition flights and illegal secret black site prisons should be told of the rottenness of their own governments.
Some, like Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt will probably be unsafe to visit due to ongoing civil unrest, as their citizens revolt against their CIA-backed dictators. Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey could erupt next.
I have alerted Polish friends to spread the word. Thanks, Andy.
And thank you, Willy.
On Digg, cosmicsurfer wrote:
Wish you success, Andy and Moazzem, my friends…Hoping the investigation goes well.
Accountability through Transparency……Time for the US government to stop trying to persecute those who are shining light on the truth and embrace the people that are bringing it to light and to hold those accountable who have committed acts of aggression, hate, torture, kidnapping and all the other heinous crimes against humanity
[…] prisoner and the director of the NGO Cageprisoners) and I flew out to Poland to take part in a week-long tour of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (which I co-directed with […]
Are there enough self-hating ashamed-to-be-white Guardianista dhimmis in a sane European country like Poland to join a worthwhile snivel-fest for these unshaven Jihadi nutters?
If so, one can only say that Poland is well on the way to becoming another U.K.
Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
Email Andy Worthington
Please support Andy Worthington, independent journalist: