UK: Guantánamo ruling: Response from Amnesty International and Amani Deghayes

Responding to today’s ruling in the High Court that the UK government is not obliged to intervene on behalf of two UK residents held at Guantánamo Bay, Amnesty International and the sister of one of the men expressed serious disappointment.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

“Today’s ruling is extremely disappointing. Instead of propping up the government’s policy of picking and choosing which of the UK residents held prisoner at Guantánamo it was willing to stand up for, the High Court could have sent out the message that they all need the government’s help.

“We’ve been saying for years that the government’s reluctance to act on behalf of long-term residents of this country has been shameful. It has meant that these men have become Guantánamo’s forgotten prisoners.

“Rather than talking of Guantánamo as an ‘anomaly’, Tony Blair should be pressing the US administration to immediately close down Guantánamo and either release prisoners to safe countries or bring them before proper courts on the US mainland.”

Amani Deghayes, sister of Omar Deghayes, one of the two men who had taken the case to the High Court, said:

“This is a bitter defeat for us and for everyone who thinks that the UK government should be opposing Guantánamo Bay and helping people like my brother.

“We certainly intend to appeal and as a family we intend to keep pressing Jack Straw and other members of the UK government to assist all of the UK residents imprisoned at Guantánamo.

“The sheer injustice of holding Omar for years without even charging him with anything is unbelievable. I’m not looking for any special treatment for my brother - I just want his basic human rights to be respected.”

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