Photos and Report: The Latest Parliamentary Meeting on Guantánamo and an Amnesty Event I Chaired with Mohamedou Ould Slahi and Mansoor Adayfi

Photos from the second meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Closure of the Guantánamo Detention Facility, in the Houses of Parliament on June 26, 2023, and of ‘Life at Guantánamo: writing behind bars’, at Amnesty International’s London headquarters on June 28, 2023.

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Last week was another good week for Guantánamo activity in the UK — on the part of politicians, former prisoners, lawyers and activists — as the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Closure of the Guantánamo Detention Facility held its second meeting, and Amnesty International hosted an event at its London HQ about former prisoners’ memoirs, and the power of writing.

On Monday June 26 — the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture — the second meeting of the APPG for Guantánamo’s closure took place in the Palace of Westminster (the Houses of Parliament), following the inaugural meeting in May, which I wrote about here.

That meeting featured former prisoners Mohamedou Ould Slahi, visiting from his home in the Netherlands, and his former guard Steve Wood, visiting from the US, and for this second meeting Mohamedou made a return visit, joined this time by another former prisoner, the British citizen Moazzam Begg, who introduced the members of the APPG to Yusuf Mingazov, the son of another former prisoner, Ravil Mingazov.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sole Kenyan at Guantánamo, Seized in 2007, Seeks Release Via Periodic Review Board

Guantanamo prisoner Mohammed Abdulmalik (aka Mohammed Abdul Malik Bajabu), the sole Kenyan prisoner, in a photo taken by representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, and made available to his family. Last week (on May 10), the sole Kenyan held at Guantánamo, Mohammed Abdul Malik Bajabu (aka Mohammed Abdulmalik) became the 36th prisoner to have his case considered by a Periodic Review Board. A high-level review process that began in November 2013, the PRBs involve representatives of the Departments of State, Defense, Justice and Homeland Security, as well as the office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and, in the two and half years since they were set up, they have been reviewing the cases of two groups of men: 41 men described by the Guantánamo Review Task Force (which President Obama set up when he first took office in 2009) as “too dangerous to release,” and 23 others initially put forward for trials until the basis for prosecutions largely collapsed, in 2012 and 2013, after appeals court judges ruled that the war crimes being prosecuted had been invented by Congress.

For the 41 men described as “too dangerous to release,” the task force also acknowledged that insufficient evidence existed to put them on trial, but what this means, of course, is that it is not evidence at all, but something far less trustworthy — information that was extracted from the prisoners themselves through the use of torture or other forms of abuse, or through being bribed with the promise of better living conditions.

Of the 36 cases reviewed up to and including Mohammed Abdulmalik, 21 men have so far been approved for release, and just seven have had their ongoing imprisonment recommended, a success rate of 75%, which rather demolishes the US claims about the men question being “too dangerous to release.” The eight others reviewed are awaiting decisions. Read the rest of this entry »

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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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