Amnesty marks sixth 'anniversary' of Guantanamo with prison cell protest outside US embassy
Amnesty International is marking the sixth anniversary of US detentions at Guantánamo Bay (11 January) with protests in London and around the world as part of its campaign to close the US-run prison camp.
From 5.00pm on Thursday 10 January, Amnesty will install its ‘Guantánamo Cell’ outside the US embassy in central London (Grosvenor Square), built to the exact dimensions of a cell at Guantánamo Bay and illuminated by powerful lamps. Amnesty supporters and spokespeople in orange boiler suits will hold an all-night vigil in the cage.
At 10.30am on Friday 11 January they will be joined by hundreds of protesters, all dressed as Guantánamo inmates in orange boiler suits and face masks, together with ‘US camp guards’ - with real guard dogs - who will shout orders to the ‘detainees’ and force them to assume stress positions used at Guantánamo Bay.
Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:
“It’s time for Guantánamo Bay to close. After six long years these totally illegal detentions must come to an end.
“Along with similar demonstrations around the world, we’re resorting to this cell protest to send a clear message to the US government: close Guantánamo and other secret prisons immediately.
“Guantánamo Bay is an unlawful black hole. It has completely failed to make the world a safer place - instead it’s become a symbol for abuses in the ‘war on terror’ and had a disastrous effect on respect for human rights around the globe.
“Of course governments need to combat terrorism, but this must be done using proper courts and proper justice. Guantánamo’s 275 detainees should be given a fair trial or released to a safe country.
“This travesty of justice shouldn’t go on a day longer.”
Amnesty International is warning that illegal practices adopted by the US government in its ‘war on terror’ - at Guantánamo and with CIA secret detentions - have led to a dangerous setting aside of fundamental human rights in the name of national security.
The organisation cites a corrosive effect on the rule of law and respect for human rights in Afghanistan, Pakistan, East Africa and Europe. In Pakistan, for example, the recent reappearance of people previously considered ‘disappeared’ has highlighted this trend.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International knows of at least 38 people believed to have been held in secret detention by the CIA whose fate and whereabouts remain unknown. The human rights organisation is pointing out that the CIA’s rendition and detention programme could not have operated without the cooperation of other governments, and that such governments have also been complicit in Guantánamo detentions.
- find out more about our work on Terrorism, Security and Human Rights and the campaign to close Guantanamo