Guantánamo: Amnesty International stages worldwide protests for sixth anniversary

MEDIA ADVISORY

PHOTO AND FILMING OPPORTUNITIES To mark the sixth anniversary of the first transfers of detainees to Guantánamo Bay, Amnesty International (AI) is leading worldwide events, rallies and meetings to seek the immediate closure of the detention centre and an end to all illegal detentions.

To this end, AI has collected over 1,200 signatures from parliamentarians around the world. Hundreds signed from parliaments across continental Europe, the UK, and Israel – countries which are the staunchest US allies in the “war on terror”.

AI events for the sixth anniversary will showcase the recently declassified “Poems from Guantánamo” in countries including Bahrain, Luxembourg, Denmark and Spain. AI Bahrain, for example, described its poetry reading as “another step forward in our struggle to let the voices of the detainees reach the world… We hope that this anniversary is the last one and that Guantánamo Bay is closed forever.”

Other key events include:

In the USA…  In Washington D.C., members and other activists will gather on the National Mall dressed in orange jumpsuits to urge Congress and the Bush administration to shut down Guantánamo.  Approximately 100,000 signatures from US citizens and a petition signed by over 1,200 parliamentarians from around the world will be sent to the Bush administration and Presidential candidates. Main event: When: 11 January 2008 Time: 11.00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. local time Where: National Mall, Washington DC Contacts: US media: Sharon Singh on +1 202 544 0200 x289, email [email protected] International media: Josefina Salomon +44 7778 472 116 [email protected]

In the UK… In London, there will be an all-night vigil around a replica Guantánamo cage, filled every hour with a new ‘captive’. The morning after will see a mass demonstration in front of the US embassy in London. Hundreds of protestors in orange jumpsuits will sit in stress positions under the eyes of faux US guards. Rallies will also be held at the US Consulate in Edinburgh and through the streets of Belfast. Main event: When: 10-11 January 2008 Time: Vigil begins 5.30 p.m. local time 10 January Demo begins 10.30 a.m. local time 11 January Where: US embassy, 24 Grosvenor Square, London W1A 1AE Contact: Howard Hudson on + 44 (0)207 413 5831 or mobile +44 (0)7983 383765 [email protected]

In Sweden… Central Stockholm will host the ‘Guantánamo Bay Luxury Resort’, with jumpsuited activists leaning back in deckchairs among palm trees, sun and cocktails. In conjunction with the stunt three Swedish parliamentarians and Director of AI Sweden will give speeches to stress the continuing plight of detainees at Guantánamo Bay. When: January 2008 Time: 4 p.m. local time Where: Norrmalmstorg, square in Central Stockholm Contact: Press office on +46 (0)8-729 02 20

In Ireland… Towns across the country will find lone participants dressed in orange jumpsuits, white facemasks and placards. Each ‘statue’ will aim to highlight the issue of solitary confinement, while identifying a specific individual in Guantánamo. Other AI members will collect signatures on a petition to be delivered to the US Ambassador. There will also be a poetry competition launched for secondary school students, asked to create poems using only the materials available to prisoners in Guantánamo: white sheets, toilet rolls, plastic cups, etc. Time: 5-11 January Where: Towns across Ireland Contact: Press office on +353 1 8638300

In Bahrain… A poetry reading night will feature former detainees Abdulla Al-Noaimi, released from Guantánamo in 2005 and key contributor to the book Poems from Guantánamo. Poems by Jumah al-Dossari will also be read. When: Sat. 12 January 2008 Time: 7.30pm local time Where: Bahrain Human Rights Society Contact: Nasser H. Burdestani, [email protected]

In Paraguay… AI activists will gather at a square in central Asunción and stage a street theatre re-enactment of Guantánamo, as well as collecting more signatures for petitions to close the detention centre and to stop torture and rendition worldwide. Contact: Maria José Garcete, E-mail: [email protected]ty.org

In The Philippines… AI will host a motorcade and street drama demonstration near the US embassy in Manila, also aiming to mobilize supporters from the AI Philippines membership and the United Against Torture Coalition (UATC). Contact: Maria Edilyd P. Orias E-mail: [email protected]

More events are planned in many other countries. For more information and images on these and AI’s global campaign to close Guantánamo, please go to: http://www.amnesty.org/en/for-media/resources/counter-terror-with-justice

For more information please call Howard Hudson at Amnesty International’s press office in London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5831 Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW.  For the latest news: http://news.amnesty.org

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