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[casi] Justice for Detainees NOW!! Petition and protest

We are hoping to get thousands of signatures to Tony Blair on the 13
December. Please circulate and come to the rally if you can.
thanks, Emma



In the 'war on terror', many hundreds of people have been imprisoned
without charge or trial by the US and UK governments - at Guantanamo Bay
and in Afghanistan, Iraq, the United States and the United Kingdom.

These people can be held indefinitely without trial and have reportedly
been kept in conditions amounting to torture. Most are not allowed
access to families or lawyers. At Guantanamo they face a closed military
tribunal with prosecution, defence and judge appointed by the US
military. In the UK 16 detainees have been held without charge in
Belmarsh Prison since December 2001. The rejection of recent appeals
means that detainees now face indefinite detention. More generally, UK
anti-terrorism legislation is being used to harass migrant and refugee
communities and suppress dissent, fan the flames of racial hatred and
restrict the right of free speech.

*** PETITION ***
Sign on-line at:
(for paper copies tel: 020 7586 5892 or 020 7250 1315)

We call on the UK and US governments
  - to abandon all forms of internment without trial.
  - to immediately release those imprisoned without trial or charge them
and conduct a fair and transparent trial.

We call on the UK government
  - to secure the release of all nine British citizens and two British
residents held in Guantanamo, for freedom or fair trial in Britain
  - to demand the freedom or fair trial of all prisoners at Guantanamo.
  - to end the use of anti-terrorism legislation to harass migrant and
refugee communities and suppress dissent


Public Rally: Saturday 13 December 2003
 From 1-4pm, opposite Downing Street, London.

Speakers include: Azmat Begg (father of Moazzam Begg), Gareth Peirce,
Louise Christian (Haldane Society), Jasmine Kureshi (Association of
Muslim Lawyers), Naima Bouteldja (Just Peace), Mark Jennings
(representing Bishar Al-Raw’s family), Jean Lambert MEP, Jeremy Corbyn
MP, Tim Gopsill (editor, The Journalist), Mike Marqusee, Bruce Kent,
Hugo Charlton (Chair, Green Party & CAMPACC), Stewart Hemsley (Chair,
Pax Christi), Liz Fekete (Campaign against Racism & Fascism), Paul
Donovan (journalist), Jaffer Clarke (Muslim Parliament of Great Britain)
& Mark Thomas.

A petition calling for an end to imprisonment without trial will be
handed into Downing St.
Throughout the rally, a Guantanamo street action will be performed - if
you are interested in taking part, please contact us.

This petition and protest are sponsored by: Campaign Against
Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC), Haldane Society of Socialist
Lawyers, Peace and Justice in East London, Pax Christi, Voices UK, City
Circle, JustPeace, The Muslim Parliament of Great Britain, Association
of Muslim Lawyers, The Green Party of England and Wales, Peace and

Contact: Campaign against Criminalising Communities,,
020 7250 1315


"Secrecy has been chosen over due process and is a dangerous precedent
for the future, not just for these detainees. Their arrest and
continuing detention without due process marks the entry of this country
into a new dark age of injustice."
 From a statement made on behalf of detainees in the UK by solicitor
Gareth Peirce, following the decisions made by SIAC, 29 October 2003.

At Guantanamo Bay, detainees are held indefinitely without prospect of a
fair trial, since they face a military tribunal appointed by the US
government, whose head, President Bush, has already publicly condemned
them as guilty.

They have been interrogated continuously for almost two years, in
conditions that amount to torture, without access to any lawyer.
US-based Australian lawyer Richard Bourke, who represents some of the
detainees, said that ‘the US military are engaging in good
old-fashioned torture, as people would have understood it in the Dark
Ages. One of the detainees had described being taken out and tied to a
post and having rubber bullets fired at them. They were being made to
kneel cruciform in the sun until they collapsed.’ (ABC News, 8 October

Trials, if they happen at all, will be based upon confessions obtained
wholly unlawfully. International law prohibits interrogation of
prisoners of war. The Third Geneva Convention calls for a properly
constituted tribunal to decide whether persons captured during a
conflict are prisoners of war, who must be treated humanely, or
civilians taken in error, who must be released.

Of the nine British citizens held at Guantanamo, the British government
has said there is nothing with which two of them - Feroz Abbasi and
Moazzem Begg - could be charged with under British law.

British residents Bisher al-Rawi, an Iraqi resident in Britain for 19
years, and Jamil al Banna, a Jordanian granted refugee status in
Britain, were arrested on a business trip to the Gambia and handed to
CIA agents with the collaboration of the British High Commission. They
were sent first to Bagram in Afghanistan and then to Guantanamo. No
evidence has been produced against them except possession of an Argos
battery charger, for which 'crime' the British authorities let them go
after stopping them at Gatwick.
In Britain 16 people have been detained since December 2001 without
trial for an indefinite period under the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and
Security Act (ATCSA) 2001. Their appeals against detention are being
heard by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), which uses
evidence - some of it obtained under duress from Guantanamo Bay
prisoners - which is kept secret even from the detainees.

Ten of the detainees lost their appeals against detention at SIAC on 29
October. Gareth Peirce, the solicitor acting for eight of the men,
criticised the ‘deference’ shown to the security services and the
government. ‘The same political agenda that created weapons of mass
destruction, and claimed there was an immediate threat to this country,
has created a wish to find danger from the presence in this country of
these appellants,’ she said. Amnesty International said that the
judgement was a ‘perversion of justice’. An Amnesty spokesperson
said, ‘The shockingly low burden of proof, which the SlAC ruled that
the Secretary of State had met, violates the right to the presumption of

23 political organisations in the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey,
Kurdistan and Sri Lanka have been banned under the Terrorism Act 2000,
including several never accused of any violent act on British soil and
others not engaged in armed struggle anywhere. 'Terrorism' is being used
as an excuse to detain, interrogate and intimidate migrant and refugee
communities. These perversions of justice and violations of human rights
are taking place despite the multiple powers the state already has to
deal adequately with violent crime or its planning. Anti-terrorism laws
are also being used to suppress political dissent and legal protest.

In the United States, Afghanistan and Iraq, the US and UK authorities
are holding a large number of detainees without charge or trial under
terrorism legislation, or merely as ‘security detainees’.
Emma Sangster

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