Guantánamo: US must release prisoners or allow fair trials after Supreme Court ruling

Responding to today’s ruling from the US Supreme Court on Guantánamo Bay, Amnesty International is calling for the US authorities to immediately release prisoners or allow fair trials for all detainees held at the US military detention centre in Cuba.

The court ruled - in the case of Hamdan v Rumsfeld - that proposed trials by military commissions were illegal under US law and the Geneva Conventions.

Salim Ahmed Hamdan has previously told his military lawyer that whilst in US custody in Afghanistan he was “beaten, held for about three days in a bound position …dragged, kicked, and punched.” In Guantánamo he was held for almost a year in solitary confinement and apparently considered signing false confessions in the hope that this would improve his situation.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

“This ruling should now lead to the US administration ending the scandal of holding Guantánamo prisoners in defiance of international human rights law.

“The Guantánamo Bay prison camp should be closed and all detainees allowed fair trials or released to safe countries.

“The US authorities should also disclose details about all other ‘war on terror’ detention centres. We need to know what ‘other Guantanamos’ exist and just how many ‘war on terror’ prisoners the US is holding in secret.”

Amnesty International is also reiterating its call for the UK government to petition for the fair trial or release of eight UK residents still held at Guantánamo.

These include Jamil el-Banna, a Jordanian refugee and long-term resident of London, Omar Deghayes, a Libyan refugee and resident of Brighton, and Bisher al-Rawi, an Iraqi national and long-term resident of Kingston in Surrey.

The UK government has so far refused to ask the US authorities for the release of seven of the men on the basis that they are not UK nationals. Amnesty International believes there are many compelling reasons why the UK government should reverse this stance, including the fact that some of the men are refugees in the UK, have families living in Britain and are likely to be in danger if returned to countries like Libya or Jordan.

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