As George Bush visits London, Reprieve tells Bush and Brown: Bring Binyam Back to Britain


Where: Trafalgar Square, in front of the National Gallery
When: 3 pm, Sunday 15 June
Who: Reprieve Director Clive Stafford Smith, former Guantánamo prisoners, Barney the Dinosaur and other special guests

On Sunday 15 June, US President George W. Bush is visiting London as part of his valedictory world tour, and will be having tea with the Queen and dinner with Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Binyam MohamedReprieve, the legal action charity that represents over 30 Guantánamo prisoners, is using this opportunity to highlight the suffering of Binyam Mohamed, the London resident who remains in Guantánamo Bay. The US military has announced that it wants to put him through its discredited Military Commission process, and a final decision will be made in the next two weeks. The commission system is so corrupt that Col. Morris Davis recently quit as the chief military prosecutor, because of the system’s many flaws, one being that evidence derived from torture was going to be used against the prisoners.

Nothing could be more true of Binyam, who was taken to Morocco where his genitals were razor-bladed for 18 months. After that he was rendered to more abuse in the CIA-run “Dark Prison” in Kabul, where he was tortured psychologically, hung up and subjected to incredibly loud music for 20 days at a time. He has been imprisoned in Guantánamo Bay since September 2004.

The timing of President Bush’s visit to London is fortuitous but only if his supporters can make sure that he gets the message. The “Bring Back Binyam” initiative starts at 3 pm outside the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square and Reprieve is working towards a finale outside the Southbank Centre, where Massive Attack are hosting a series of Reprieve events as part of Meltdown 2008, at 4.30pm.

Throughout this initiative, Reprieve will dramatize the torture-by-music that Binyam and other prisoners have suffered. Barney the Purple Dinosaur will be making a personal appearance, as the theme tune to this popular children’s show has been one of the US torturers’ favourite pieces of torture music. Reprieve is also hoping to involve other creative “cartoon characters”: Katy the Kangaroo Court, and even Roger the Razor Blade. Cosmetics firm Lush, who have been supporting the work of Reprieve, have kindly agreed to bring along their massive “Fair Trial My Arse” orange underpants, to highlight the nature of the unjust process that Binyam is facing. Brighton’s Save Omar campaigners — having effortlessly shifted their focus to Binyam’s plight — will be turning up with their typical creative energy, and Reprieve will also be supported by Cageprisoners and the London Guantanamo Campaign.

Reprieve notes that supporters of Binyam don’t have to sing the Barney theme song (although they’re welcome to), and also suggests that supporters can dress up in any outfit that they think dramatises Binyam’s torture over the past six years.

For further information, please contact Reprieve on 020 7353 4640.

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, and see here for my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, published in March 2009.

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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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