London Guantánamo Campaign to Stage “Murder Scene” Outside US Embassy, London to Mark 100th Day of Guantánamo Hunger Strike, Saturday 18th May, 2-4pm

For Immediate Release

London Guantánamo Campaign to Stage “Murder Scene” Outside US Embassy, London to Mark 100th Day of Guantánamo Hunger Strike, Saturday 18th May, 2-4pm

LONDON - The vast majority of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay [1] have been on hunger strike since 6 February [2]. The Pentagon currently puts the number of hunger strikers at over 100 of the remaining 166 prisoners, with over two dozen prisoners reported to be force fed in a method the UN has described as torture [3].

On Friday 17 May, the hunger strike will enter its 100th day. Hunger strikes can be fatal both in the short and longer term with food deprivation leading to organ failure and other medical complications. At least 8 of the 9 prisoners known to have died at Guantánamo Bay in unusual circumstances, reported as “suicide” in at least 7 cases, had previously taken part in sustained hunger strikes. British resident Shaker Aamer [4] is on hunger strike and reported to being force fed.

As part of an international weekend of action [5], the London Guantánamo Campaign [6] will hold a demonstration on Saturday 18 May at 2-4pm outside the US Embassy in London. A murder scene will be staged to highlight the potentially fatal effects of this hunger strike and the culpability of the US administration for the deaths of prisoners who have died there, all of whom faced no charges or trial, and in the case of the last fatality had long been cleared for release [7].

Aisha Maniar, an organiser from the London Guantánamo Campaign, said:

“Weeks of official denial of the legitimate protest by prisoners has been met with violence and a lockdown. There has been no attempt whatsoever to address the issues raised by the hunger strike or to bring this desperate protest to an end, which inches ever closer to a fatality.

President Obama’s recent statements on Guantánamo Bay ring hollow in light of actions he sanctioned just prior to and during this hunger strike. The time for rhetoric expired long ago as did the indefensible defences for over a decade of indefinite detention. The current and former US administrations have deliberately chosen not to close Guantánamo Bay; it remains as expedient as ever. With hands already steeped in the blood and physical and psychological torture of prisoners, unless it takes immediate positive action, the US government will continue to see this situation spiral out of control with disastrous consequences all round.”

NOTES TO EDITOR

1. 166 prisoners remain at Guantánamo Bay, of whom more than half have been cleared for release and less than a dozen face charges. With few exceptions, all have been held for up to and over 11 years without charge or trial.

http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/wp-content/uploads/pdf/USLS-Fact-Sheet-Gitmo-Numbers.pdf

2. On 4 March, lawyers for the prisoners wrote to the prison commander Rear Admiral John Smith raising these matters and the resulting hunger strike, calling on the US military to “take immediate measures to bring an end this potentially life - threatening situation in the camps by addressing the reasons that give rise to it.

“Camp authorities must cease the arbitrary and regressive practices being reported by our clients, including all intrusive searches of the Qur’an.”

http://ccrjustice.org/files/2013_03_04_Ltr_JTF_Smith_Welsh.pdf

3. http://rt.com/news/guantanamo-prison-torture-un-677/

4. Shaker Aamer was cleared for release by the US military in 2007. He claims to have been tortured repeatedly during his time in US custody, on one occasion in the presence of a British intelligence agent. He has a British wife and four children living in Battersea, south London. Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown sought his release in August 2007, along with four other residents held at Guantánamo Bay, the last of whom was released in February 2009. http://www.reprieve.org.uk/cases/shakeraamer/

5. http://londonguantanamocampaign.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/17-19-may-2013-global-weekend-of-action.html

As well in other countries, actions are also planned in Crewe, Oxford, Glastonbury, Manchester and at the US military base in Menwith Hill.

6. The London Guantánamo Campaign campaigns for justice for all prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, for the closure of this and other secret prisons, and an end to the practice of extraordinary rendition. http://londonguantanamocampaign.blogspot.com

 7. http://witnesstorture.org/survivors/adnan-farhan-abdul-latif/

 

 

 

 

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The London Guantánamo Campaign campaigns for justice for all prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, for the closure of this and other secret prisons, and an end to the practice of extraordinary rendition.

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