[Ppnews] Guantanamo inmates’ pleas to Obama ahead of major speech

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu May 23 10:37:01 EDT 2013


**Guantanamo inmates’ pleas to Obama ahead of major speech**

Hunger-striking Guantanamo Bay detainees have made direct pleas to 
President Obama ahead of today’s speech in which he is expected to 
outline his plans for the US prison. Among them is Shaker Aamer, a 
British resident, who calls on the President to begin by freeing the 86 
detainees who have been cleared for release by the US Government - of 
whom Mr Aamer is one.

Under his existing powers, Obama could order an authorisation to be 
signed immediately that would allow prisoners cleared for release to be 
transferred out of the prison at once. Another detainee, Nabil Hadjarab 
- who has been cleared for release since 2007 - takes issue with the 
President's previous claims that Congress prevents him from taking 
action: “You say that Congress gives you no power? Are you not the 
President?  In the end, the last word is yours,” he says.

Today’s speech comes amid the ongoing hunger-strike at Guantanamo by 
detainees protesting their continuing detention without charge. 
President Obama claims that the annually-renewed National Defence 
Authorisation Act (NDAA) is the reason he has been unable to close the 
prison – as he promised to do. Yet the NDAA allows Obama to waive the 
restrictions on transferring men out of the prison if it is in the US’ 
National Security interests to do so. Obama has said before that 
transferring men out of the prison camp is in the interests of national 
security, saying that "[Guantanamo] is inefficient, it hurts us in terms 
of our international standing, it lessens co-operation with our allies 
on counter-terrorism efforts, it is a recruitment tool for extremists, 
it needs to be closed."

British resident Shaker Aamer, who the UK Government has repeatedly said 
that they want returned to his family in London, said to the President: 
“You need to hand over the 86 people who have been cleared…in the end 
this place has no solution except close it down.” Aamer is among the 
approximately 140 detainees in the prison on hunger strike.

Yemeni Samir Mokbel, whose comments were published in the New York Times 
in April, said on a phone call with his lawyer: “For more than two 
months we have heard no suggestions or initiatives put forward by the 
American government to solve the issues of the prisoners nor have they 
given any instructions to solve the problem of the strike. We have only 
heard a statement from the ministry of defence that the number of 
strikers has increased and that there is a possibility of deaths in the 
future.”

*Clive Stafford Smith, director of human rights charity Reprieve and 
lawyer for the men, *said: "How can Obama refuse a waiver for Shaker? He 
can hardly say the UK is a terrorist state, and as we have long made 
clear Shaker agrees to any arrangements the US or UK wants to impose, as 
all he wants is to be back with his children. Obama can only refuse us 
if he is insincere."

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. For further information, please contact Clemency Wells in Reprieve's 
press office: +44 (0) 207 553 8161 / clemency.wells at reprieve.org.uk

2. The pleas from Shaker Aamer, Nabil Hadjarab and Samir Mokbel come 
from unclassified notes of meetings and phone calls with their lawyers.

3. For further information on the NDAA and how President Obama can 
authorise the transfer of prisoners out of Guantanamo Bay, see 
Reprieve's website 
<http://reprieve.us1.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=d176b31fc0ccbde9f3f3a6349&id=32646aef23&e=f8755a10f3>. 


4. Reprieve 
<http://reprieve.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=d176b31fc0ccbde9f3f3a6349&id=0790571b8c&e=f8755a10f3>, a 
legal action charity, uses the law to enforce the human rights of 
prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay. Reprieve investigates, 
litigates and educates, working on the frontline, to provide legal 
support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves. Reprieve promotes 
the rule of law around the world, securing each person’s right to a fair 
trial and saving lives. Clive Stafford Smith is the founder 
of Reprieve and has spent 25 years working on behalf of people facing 
the death penalty in the USA.
-- 
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://freedomarchives.org/pipermail/ppnews_freedomarchives.org/attachments/20130523/8c5960c1/attachment.html>


More information about the PPnews mailing list