Ex Guantánamo prisoner Omar Deghayes speaking in Scotland

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Ex Guantánamo prisoner Omar Deghayes speaking in Scotland

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email / SACCnews (Scotland Against Criminalising Communities) 22/03/10


Former Guantánamo prisoner Omar Deghayes speaking in Scotland amid mounting pressure on Brown over torture

Film focuses on prisoners whose torture allegations have been exposed by UK courts

Former Guantánamo prisoner Omar Deghayes will be speaking at film events supported by the Stop the War Coalition and Scotland Against Criminalising Communities in Edinburgh (Wednesday 24 March) and Glasgow (Thursday 25 March) this week. The meetings come against a background of mounting pressure on Gordon Brown to take action over evidence of British involvement in extraordinary rendition and torture. In a letter published today, [22 March] the All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition and four human rights groups are calling for a full independent investigation into growing allegations of the secret services involvement in prisoner abuse and torture.

Omar Deghayes and journalist Andy Worthington (author of The Guantánamo Files) will be speaking at a series of public meetings in Scotland this week. Omar Deghayes came to the UK with his mother, sister and brother from Libya in 1986, six years after his father, Amer - a lawyer - was killed by Colonel Muammar Gadaffi’s regime. After graduating in law he travelled to Afghanistan, where he married and had a son. The family fled to Pakistan in early 2002 in the wake of the US-led invasion of Afghanistan. After settling there he was seized by police, a victim of the hunt - fuelled by US bounty - for Arabs who had been in Afghanistan. He was sent to Bagram and then to Guantánamo. He was released in 2007 and now lives in Brighton.

Omar Deghayes will be participating in a public discussion following screenings of the documentary “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” at the Augustine Church, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh on Wednesday 24 March (7.30pm) and at Adelaides, Bath Street, Glasgow on Thursday 25 March (7.30pm) . He will be joined on the panel by journalist Andy Worthington and human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar.

“Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” is a new documentary film, directed by Polly Nash and journalist Andy Worthington . The film focuses on the stories of three prisoners - Shaker Aamer (who is still held), Binyam Mohamed (released in 2009) and Omar Deghayes (released in 2007) and includes sections on “extraordinary rendition” and secret prisons. The screening coincides with a mounting scandal involving British complicity in torture, which focuses on Shaker Aamer and Binyam Mohamed.

On 10 February, the UK Court of Appeal ordered the release of a summary of documents revealing that US agents had tortured Binyam Mohamed while he was held in Pakistan in 2002, and that the British government knew about it. Foreign secretary David Miliband had tried to suppress this summary for 18 months. MI5’s involvement in Mohamed’s case is now being investigated by the Metropolitan Police, and on 19 February it was revealed that the Met is now investigating claims that Shaker Aamer was tortured in US custody in Afghanistan, while British agents were present.

The British Government, successive Scottish Governments and the police have systematically stonewalled demands for a serious investigation into the use of British (and Scottish) airports in connection with extraordinary rendition.

Shaker Aamer is still being held in solitary confinement at Guantánamo Bay, although there are no charges against him and he has been cleared for release. He is being denied his freedom because the British and US governments are afraid of the stories he might tell.

Afghanistan remains under the occupation of US-led forces. Prisoners are still being held under abusive conditions at Bagram, without even being told why they are detained or given a fair chance to argue for release. The names of the 645 prisoners held at Bagram (as of 22 September 2009) were released by the US in January 2010, but the US did not state the circumstances of their capture, nor did it state whether the prisoners were all captured in Afghanistan or had been transferred from other countries. An ongoing project by Andy Worthington aims at uncovering the background of these prisoners.

The much-hyped US-led assault on Kandahar, planned for this year, is likely to lead to a fresh wave of detention and abuse by the occupying forces.

Evidence of British involvement in torture and abuse continues to mount. It was revealed on Sunday that British military intelligence ran a secret operation in Iraq which authorised degrading and unlawful treatment of prisoners. Earlier this month, the High Court in London heard evidence that a man kidnapped by the CIA in Indonesia and subsequently tortured had been on a CIA rendition flight that stopped over in Diego Garicia, the British Indian Ocean territory where the US has a military airbase,

The Stop the War Coalition continues to campaign for all troops to be be brought home from Afghanistan and for an end to the US-led "war on terror."

More information

Richard Haley (Secretary, Scotland Against Ciminalising Communitie):
contact@saccnet.org.uk 07936432519

Scottish screenings of Outside the Law

Monday March 22, Dundee
5.30pm, The University of Dundee, University of Dundee, Dalhousie Building, Old Hawkhill/Balfour Street, Dundee, DD1 4HB
Screening and discussion with Omar Deghayes and Andy Worthington
organised by Dundee University Students Association.

Tuesday March 23, Aberdeen
6.00pm, Lecture Theatre Fraser Nobel 1 (FN1), University of Aberdeen, King's College, Aberdeen, AB24 3FX
Screening and discussion with Omar Deghayes and Andy Worthington
organised by Aberdeen University Amnesty International Society.

Wednesday March 24: Edinburgh
7.30pm, Augustine Church, 41 George IV Bridge Edinburgh, EH1 1EL
Screening and discussion with Omar Deghayes, Andy Worthington and Aamer Anwar
organised by SACC, supported by Edinburgh Stop the War Coalition.

Thursday March 25: Glasgow
7.30 pm, Adelaides, 209 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4HZ
Screening and discussion with Omar Deghayes, Andy Worthington and Aamer Anwar

Organised by SACC, supported by Glasgow Stop the War Coalition

For full tour details, see:
www.andyworthington.co.uk/outside-the-l ... ates-2010/

Notes for Editors
1. Fresh call for an inquiry into torture - http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/ho ... 25035.html (22 march)

2. Reprieve joins united call for an inquiry into the UK's involvement in extraordinary rendition and the mistreatment of detainees abroad - http://www.reprieve.org.uk/2010_03_22_o ... ng_inquiry (22 March)

3. British military intelligence 'ran renegade torture unit in Iraq' - http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/ho ... 24784.html (21 March)

4. Man sent for torture via Diego Garcia - http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/ma ... ence-court (4 March)
"For truth has now come to light, and falsehood [by its nature] is bound to perish; for, falsehood cannot bring forth anything new, nor can it bring back [what has passed away]."
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