Join Us on Wednesday June 7 for the Next Monthly Coordinated Global Vigils for the Closure of Guantánamo


A flyer for next week’s vigils (and those on July 5) put together by Amnesty International USA.

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Since February, on the first Wednesday of every month, campaigners around the world have been holding coordinated vigils calling for the closure of the prison at Guantánamo Bay, which, as of today, has been open for 7,810 days. The next vigils take place next Wednesday, June 7, and we hope you’ll join us, either by joining an existing vigil, or by setting up your own! And please, if you are taking part in a vigil, take photos and send them to me, as the cumulative visual effect of many vigils taking place on the same day is really quite powerful.

Campaigners in London, who had held weekly vigils outside Parliament for many years to call for the release of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo, who was finally freed in October 2015, resumed vigils (on a monthly basis) last September, largely due to the tenacity of Sara Birch of the Lewes Amnesty Group, who is also the Convenor of the UK Guantánamo Network, comprising members of various Amnesty groups, Close Guantánamo and other organizations.

After global protests for the closure of Guantánamo on and around the 21st anniversary of its opening, on January 11 this year, I thought it would make sense to try to get campaigners in the US and elsewhere to join with us in holding coordinated vigils on the first Wednesday of every month, and so a movement was born.

Washington, D.C. joined us in February, with New York and Mexico City joining in March, and Brussels, Los Angeles, Raleigh, NC and Cobleskill, NY joining in April. Last month, there were nine vigils in total — in London, Washington, D.C. New York, Mexico City, Copenhagen, Brussels, Detroit and Los Angeles, with former prisoner Mansoor Adayfi joining us in Belgrade — and for next week we’re hoping for ten, with Amnesty campaigners in Minneapolis joining in.

Organizations taking part include Amnesty International, the UK Guantánamo Network, Witness Against Torture and the World Can’t Wait, while supporting organizations include the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Center for Victims of Torture, the Council for American-Islamic Relations, Muslim Counterpublics Lab, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, and September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows.

A poster showing the 16 men still held at Guantánamo who have been approved for release.

The need to keep up pressure on the Biden administration is imperative, because, although 16 of the 30 men still held at Guantánamo have been unanimously approved for release by high-level government review processes, those decisions were purely administrative, and they cannot appeal to a judge to help them, if, as appears to be the case, the administration is finding it difficult to locate third countries prepared to offer them a new home.

This is necessary for 13 of these men, because provisions inserted by Republicans into the annual National Defense Authorization Act every year since the early days of the Obama presidency prevent them being sent back to their home countries — Yemen, in the cases of eleven of these men, Libya in one case, and Somalia in another.

Please find above and below a poster of the 16 men, and a shocking infographic showing how long they have been held since they were approved for release, and feel free to print them off for use in your vigils.

An infographic showing how long the 16 men approved for release from Guantánamo have been held since those decisions were taken,

We are also campaigning for a just resolution in the cases of the 14 other men still held, who I recently wrote about in a major article entitled, The Broken Old Men of Guantánamo. The majority of these men — all victims of torture in CIA ”black sites” — are charged in the broken military commission trial system, for which the only viable outcome would seem to be plea deals, followed by imprisonment in a new facility providing “rehabilitation from torture, and adequate medical care”, as the UN recently advised, although three of them, including Abu Zubaydah, for whom the CIA’s post-9/11 torture program was first developed, continue to be held as “forever prisoners,” neither charged nor approved for release, for whom a new non-penal facility offering the same standards of “rehabilitation from torture, and adequate medical care” may also be required.

See you next Wednesday!

* * * * *

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer (of an ongoing photo-journalism project, ‘The State of London’), 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 (see the ongoing photo campaign here) and the successful We Stand With Shaker campaign of 2014-15, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison 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 you can watch it online here, via the production company Spectacle, for £2.50).

In 2017, Andy became very involved in housing issues. He is the narrator of the documentary film, ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, about the destruction of council estates, and the inspiring resistance of residents, he wrote a song ‘Grenfell’, in the aftermath of the entirely preventable fire in June 2017 that killed over 70 people, and, in 2018, he was part of the occupation of the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden in Deptford, to try to prevent its destruction — and that of 16 structurally sound council flats next door — by Lewisham Council and Peabody.

Since 2019, Andy has become increasingly involved in environmental activism, recognizing that climate change poses an unprecedented threat to life on earth, and that the window for change — requiring a severe reduction in the emission of all greenhouse gases, and the dismantling of our suicidal global capitalist system — is rapidly shrinking, as tipping points are reached that are occurring much quicker than even pessimistic climate scientists expected. You can read his articles about the climate crisis here.

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, The Complete Guantánamo Files, 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.

3 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, promoting the next monthly coordinated global vigils for the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, taking place next Wednesday, June 7, in London, across the US (in Washington, D.C., New York, Detroit, Minneapolis and Cobleskill, NY), and at other locations around the world.

    Hoping you can join us! We’ll be particularly demanding that the Biden administration moves more swiftly to free the 16 men (out of the 30 still held), who have been unanimously approved for release by high-level US government review processes, but who are still held.

    Included in the article are posters showing these 16 men, and explaining how long they will have been held, next Wednesday, since those decisions were taken (shockingly, between 257 and 4,884 days!)

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    For a Spanish version, on the World Can’t Wait’s website, see ‘Únase a nosotros el miércoles 7 de junio en las próximas vigilias mundiales mensuales coordinadas por el cierre de Guantánamo’:

  3. Immigrant Work Stoppages, Sea Turtle Rights, India’s Female Wrestlers – Nonviolence News says...

    […] Close Guantánamo! Join activists at the Next Monthly Coordinated Global Vigils for the Closure of Guantánamo, a notorious torture prison. (June 7) Learn more>> […]

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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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