Counting down to the end of Guantanamo...
Looking forward to Obama sweeping into office and making his first action the closure of Guantanamo?
Well maybe the courts will get there first. Yesterday a judge in Washington yesterday ruled that five Algerian men who have been held at the camp for six years must be released because there is no legal basis for their detention. The judgement could potentially herald the release of many of the other 230 men still being detained.
But there are still at least weeks to go and one man Amnesty has been appealing on behalf of, Binyam Mohammed, says he has been severely tortured and is now close to total physical and mental breakdown. Binyam, an Ethiopian national who lived here in the UK for seven years, was unlawfully arrested in Pakistan in 2002 and rendered to the US authorities who transferred him to Guantanamo.
He is one of the subjects of Amnesty’s annual Greetings Card Campaign which launches next week. We ask our supporters to send a card to one or more of about 30 people around the world whose lives are at risk. Over the years many prisoners have been freed, and governments have stopped their persecution of people who suddenly started to receive thousandss of cards.
Sudanese poet Mahjoub Sharif received thousands of cards when he was jailed and after his release told us, “It made a big difference in prison. The guards saw that if anything happened to me, the world would know.”
I know it’s still only November but I’m going to buy my Christmas cards this weekend and I’ll get an extra pack and some world stamps from the post office so I can add these people to my list. Easy for me to do, and could make a big difference to someone else’s life.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.