After Powerful Screening of ‘Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo’ at Westminster University, I’m Available for Further Events


A screenshot of former Guantanamo prisoner Omar Deghayes in 'Outside the Law: Stories from Guantanamo', shown at the University of Westminster on November 17, 2017 (Photo: Andy Worthington).Please support my work as a reader-funded journalist! I’m currently trying to raise $2500 (£2000) to support my writing and campaigning on Guantánamo and related issues over the next three months of the Trump administration.


On Friday, I was delighted to attend a screening of ‘Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo’, the 2009 documentary film I co-directed with Polly Nash, at the University of Westminster, followed by a lively Q&A session with a packed room full of very engaged students.

My thanks to Sam Raphael, Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations, for arranging the event. Sam, with Ruth Blakeley, set up The Rendition Project, described on his university page as “an ESRC-funded project which works with NGOs and human rights investigators to uncover and understand human rights violations in the ‘War on Terror.’” Sam’s page also explains that the project “provides an unparalleled picture of the CIA’s torture programme, and has been described by the Guardian as ‘a groundbreaking research project which sheds unprecedented light on one of the most controversial secret operations of recent years.’”

Sam and I have worked together before, most recently last November at ‘Enshrined Injustice: Guantánamo, Torture and the Military Commissions’, a panel discussion at the University of Westminster, which I spoke at, and which Sam moderated, and which also featured Alka Pradhan, Human Rights Counsel at the Guantánamo Bay Military Commissions, and Carla Ferstmann, the director of REDRESS. My report about that and other Guantánamo-related events in London at that time was entitled Parliament and the People: Two Days of London Events About Guantánamo, Torture and the Military Commissions.

So on Friday, when we were also joined by George Edwards, a law professor in Indiana, who has worked on legal issues relating to Guantánamo, in the cases of David Hicks and Omar Khadr, it was reassuring to discover that, although ‘Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo’ has obviously aged since its release eight years ago — particularly because of the release two years ago of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo, whose story features prominently in the film — its fundamental narrative remains intact, telling a compelling account of the prison and its fundamental and unremitting injustices, primarily though interviews with five people — former prisoners Omar Deghayes (who is at the heart of the film, with his powerful and poignant reflections from an interview with myself and Polly, which was his first major interview following his release in 2007) and Moazzam Begg, Clive Stafford Smith, the founder of Reprieve, Tom Wilner, Counsel of Record to the prisoners in their habeas corpus cases before the Supreme Court in 2004 and 2008, and myself.

I toured ‘Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo’ extensively in 2010 and 2011, but it hasn’t been shown much in recent years. However, if you’re at a university, with students studying international relations, or any other topic that involves Guantánamo, then please do get in touch if you’d like to arrange a screening, and have me talk.

We don’t hear enough about Guantánamo these days, even though it remains open, and even though Donald Trump has been in charge of the prison for ten months, and has done nothing whatsoever to facilitate its closure. He has so far been thwarted in his efforts to bring new prisoners there, which would be a massive backwards step, but every day that Guantánamo remains open ought to be disgrace for all decent people, whether in the US or elsewhere, as there is no excuse ever for a country that claims to respect the rule of law to hold anyone indefinitely without charge or trial, as has been happening at Guantánamo for nearly 16 years.

Below is a YouTube clip showing the first five minutes of the film. You can buy it or pay to watch it online here or here, or you can buy it on DVD from Spectacle in the UK or the World Can’t Wait in the US.

Note: On Friday December 8, a new documentary film, which I’m narrating, is being released. ‘Concrete Soldiers UK‘, directed by Nikita Woolfe, looks at the destruction of council estates, and the people fighting back to try to save their homes, and to prevent a dangerous and scandalous epidemic of social cleansing.

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers, whose music is available via Bandcamp). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and the Donald Trump No! Please Close Guantánamo initiative, launched in January 2017), the co-director of We Stand With Shaker, which called for the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison (finally freed on October 30, 2015), and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by the University of Chicago Press in the US, and available from Amazon, including a Kindle edition — 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. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, and The Complete Guantánamo Files, an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the Close Guantánamo campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

One Response

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    On Friday, I was delighted to attend a screening of ‘Outside the Law: Stories from Guantanamo’, the 2009 documentary film I co-directed with Polly Nash, featuring, at its heart, the wrenchingly emotional recollections of former prisoner Omar Deghayes, plus commentary from myself, Moazzam Begg, Clive Stafford Smith and Tom Wilner. The screening was at the University of Westminster, with Sam Raphael, the co-creator of the excellent Rendition Project, and the Q&A session afterwards, with his international relations students, was so powerful that it made me want to take part in similar events, so if you’re at a university and want your students to know about Guantanamo and its horrendous history and why it’s so depressing that it’s still open, then get in touch and hire me to come and talk!

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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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