James Yee, wrongly imprisoned Guantánamo chaplain, on UK tour


James Yee: For God And CountryUS Army Captain James Yee was the Muslim chaplain of the US prison at Guantánamo Bay from November 2002 until September 2003, and in that capacity advised the prison’s commanders about the detainees’ religious practices and objected to the cruel and degrading abuses to which they were subjected. Astonishingly, although he had been recognized twice as an outstanding officer, he was arrested while on leave, accused of spying, espionage, and aiding the alleged Taliban and al-Qaeda prisoners, and held in solitary confinement for 76 days in a military brig –- where he was subjected to the same treatment as the Guantánamo detainees and the US “enemy combatants” Jose Padilla and Ali al-Marri –- before being cleared of all the charges against him.

As a result of this outrageous paranoia and persecution on the part of the US administration, James Yee resigned from the US Army and received an Honorable Discharge on January 7, 2005. Perhaps to atone for its mistakes –- or perhaps in an effort to keep him sweet –- the Army awarded him a second Army Commendation medal for “exceptionally meritorious service.” This did not, however, prevent him from writing a highly critical memoir of his time at Guantánamo, For God and Country: Faith and Patriotism Under Fire, which was published, to great acclaim, in 2005.

In association with the British human rights group Cageprisoners, James Yee is undertaking a UK tour over the next few weeks, and several of the events also feature released Guantánamo detainee (and Cageprisoners spokesman) Moazzam Begg. Other dates have been arranged with FOSIS (The Federation of Islamic Student Societies), SACC (Scotland Against Criminalizing Communities), the Brighton-based Save Omar campaign, established to secure the release of British resident Omar Deghayes, and various other organizations. See below for details.

I’m pleased to report that, as well as copies of James Yee’s book For God and Country and Moazzam Begg’s book Enemy Combatant, copies of my newly released book The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison will also be available at the Cageprisoners events.

James Yee Itinerary

Wednesday 21st November 2007
Garden Court Chambers, 57-60 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2, 6 pm
Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales, legal meeting With Moazzam Begg, Tim Otty QC, plus William Kuebler and Rebecca Snyder, US military lawyers for Guantánamo detainee Omar Khadr
[Note added November 22: This was an excellent event, to a packed room of lawyers, with a thorough presentation by Bill Kuebler and a moving talk by Moazzam Begg, but I was incorrect in thinking that it was an event featuring James Yee. The listings below, are however, correct].

Wednesday 28th November
Lancaster University, Department of Politics and International Relations

Thursday 29th November
King’s College, London WC2, 5 pm

Friday 30th November
FOSIS, University of Sussex & University of Portsmouth

Saturday 1st December
FOSIS, University of Kent

Sunday 2nd December
FOSIS, University of Bristol & University of Exeter

Monday 3rd December
FOSIS, Midlands

Tuesday 4th December
FOSIS, Manchester Metropolitan University & University of Leeds/Bradford

Wednesday 5th December
Cageprisoners, Hidden Detainees and Q News, London Muslim Centre, Whitechapel, London E1, 6:30pm
With Moazzam Begg

Thursday 6th December
Cageprisoners and Birmingham Guantánamo Campaign, Birmingham, 7pm
With Moazzam Begg and the Tipton Three (released Guantánamo detainees Rhuhel Ahmed, Asif Iqbal and Shafiq Rasul)

Friday 7th December
SACC, Masjid Al-Furqan, 19 Carrington Street, Glasgow. 7.30 pm.
With Andy Worthington, author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison.

Saturday 8th December
FOSIS, Dundee University

Sunday 9th December
Cageprisoners, Dallow Community Centre, 234 Dallow Road, Luton, LU1 1TF, 5:30pm
With Moazzam Begg

Monday 10th December
Save Omar, Brighton

For further information: contact@cageprisoners.com or 07973 264197

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). To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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