UK: Bush visit - 'crucial' that Blair presses for lawyers and fair trials for Guantánamo Bay prisoners

The human rights organisation has written to the Prime Minister, outlining its concern that all Guantánamo Bay detainees are either charged with recognisable criminal offences or released, that legal counsel is provided to all inmates (and interrogations meanwhile suspended), and that Amnesty International is granted access to Camp Delta in Cuba as well as other US-run military detention sites.

Amnesty International's letter to Mr Blair also urges him to call for plans for trials by military commissions to be dropped. In July it emerged that two of the nine UK nationals being held at Camp Delta - Moazzam Begg and Feroz Abbasi - were among six prisoners that the US authorities indicated might be subject to trial by military commissions. These executive bodies have the power to hand down death sentences against which there would be no right of appeal to any court.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

'It is crucial that Tony Blair uses the opportunity afforded by this visit to press for lawyers and - where relevant - for fair trials for Guantánamo Bay prisoners. Anyone not promptly brought to trial in accordance with fair trial standards should be released.

'It is important that Mr Blair makes the point that legal representation and fair trials should be the bottom line not just for the nine Britons in Guantánamo Bay, but for all 660-plus detainees held without charge or trial.

'Tony Blair's message to Mr Bush ought to be clear: Guantánamo Bay is nothing short of a disgrace and basic human rights need to be restored.'

Amnesty International's letter to Downing Street also makes the point that basic rights need to be afforded to all of the numerous foreign nationals held in US custody in Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, in Camp Cropper and Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq, and in other undisclosed locations around the world.

Amnesty International supporters will also be staging a protest outside Downing Street at 11am - 12 noon on Thursday 20 November to reinforce its message to Tony Blair and George Bush.

The human right protestors will be wearing orange boiler suits, blacked-out ski goggles and surgical masks, and will be manacled to protest against the illegal detention of the Camp Delta detainees.

Amnesty International activists will be distributing 'You do not have the right' leaflets after the demonstration. These explain the denial of basic human rights to Guantánamo Bay detainees, including the nine Britons.

More information about the demo...

More information about Guantánamo Bay... /p>

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