This page features photos of celebrity supporters of the "Countdown to Close Guantánamo" campaign, and other well-known and significant figures -- former Guantánamo prisoners, former members of the U.S. military, and prominent campaigners, for example. The campaign, launched on Jan. 20, 2016, counts down the last year of the Obama presidency and calls for President Obama to fulfill his promise to close the prison.
To get involved, print off the poster here, for Oct. 11, marking 100 days until the end of the Obama presidency, take a photo of yourself with it, and send it to us -- with a message if you wish. You can also let us know where you're from, if you'd like. Also see the photos of members of the public from around the world here (from 1 year to 300 days) and here (from 250 days onwards), and also here (from 150 days).
For further information about the aims of the campaign, see our article, The "Countdown to Close Guantánamo" Launches: Send in Your Photos Asking President Obama to Fulfill His Promise to Close the Prison, and watch Roger Waters and "Close Guantánamo" co-founder Andy Worthington discussing the launch with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!
150 days to go (August 22, 2016)
Andy Worthington, co-founder, Close Guantánamo, says, “We founded this initiative in January, with support from music legend Roger Waters, when 91 men were still held at Guantánamo. To his credit, President Obama has released 30 men since then, but 61 men are still held and only ten of those men are facing, or have faced trials. 20 of the 61 have been approved for release, and we hope to see them released as soon as possible, and we also continue to urge President Obama to do all in his power to close Guantánamo before he leaves office, and to urge Congress to drop its opposition to him moving any prisoners to the U.S. mainland for any reason so that he can fulfill the promise to close the prison that he made on his second day in office in January 2009.”
200 days to go (July 3, 2016)
Psychologist and film-maker Martha Davis (who made the powerful and important documentary Doctors of the Dark Side) supports the Countdown to Close Guantánamo.
Actress Harriet Walter supports the Countdown to Close Guantánamo, and says, "Closing Guantánamo is so, so important."
Actor Guy Paul, married to Harriet Walter, supports the Countdown to Close Guantánamo.
Former Guantánamo prisoner Moazzam Begg says to President Obama, for U.S. Independence Day, "We are watching and waiting for you to fulfill your promise to close Guantánamo before you leave office."
Close Guantánamo co-founder Andy Worthington tells President Obama, for U.S. Independence Day, "The eyes of the world are on you, Mr. President. You promised seven and a half years ago to close Guantánamo within a year, but you never managed to fulfill that promise, and now, so many long years later, time is running out. It is crucial for America's standing in the world -- and for your legacy -- that Guantánamo is closed before you leave office."
Yemi Tsege, the wife of unlawfully imprisoned Ethiopian political figure Andy Tsege (Andargachew Tsege), supports the Countdown to Close Guantánamo. As his lawyers at Reprieve explain, two years ago Andy "was kidnapped and rendered to Ethiopia on the command of the Ethiopian government as part of a brutal crackdown on political opponents and civil rights activists." He was "held in secret detention and in solitary confinement for over a year, without access to any form of due process. He has been paraded on Ethiopian TV looking ill and gaunt. He was given an in absentia death sentence in 2009, he could be executed at any time." Shamefully, however, the British government has refused to act decisively on Andy's behalf. To take action for Andy, email your MP, and sign the petition, which currently has nearly 130,000 signatures.
Saleyha Ahsan, doctor, journalist and human rights activist, supports the Countdown to Close Guantánamo.
250 days to go (May 14, 2016)
Former Guantánamo prisoner Moazzam Begg supports the Countdown to Close Guantánamo.
Nancy Hollander, the attorney for Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Guantánamo prisoner and best-selling author (of Guantánamo Diary), supports the Countdown to Close Guantánamo. Nancy was photographed by Close Guantánamo co-founder Andy Worthington at a Parliamentary meeting for Slahi in April. Please sign the petition to U.S. defense secretary Ashton Carter, calling for Slahi to be freed, which currently has nearly 35,000 signatures.
Andy Slaughter, the Labour MP for Hammersmith, and the shadow minister for human rights, supports the Countdown to Close Guantánamo. Andy was a key supporter of the We Stand With Shaker campaign, which played a part in successfully securing the release of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo, last October, and is part of a current Parliamentary group supporting President Obama in his stated aim of closing Guantánamo before he leaves office.
Yahdih Ould Slahi, the brother of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Guantánamo prisoner and best-selling author (of Guantánamo Diary), supports the Countdown to Close Guantánamo. Nancy was photographed by Close Guantánamo co-founder Andy Worthington at a Parliamentary meeting for Slahi in April. Please sign the petition to U.S. defense secretary Ashton Carter, calling for Slahi to be freed, which was initiated by Yahdid, and currently has nearly 35,000 signatures.
Yemi Tsege, the wife of unlawfully imprisoned Ethiopian political figure Andy Tsege (Andargachew Tsege), supports the Countdown to Close Guantánamo. As his lawyers at Reprieve state, "In June 2014 he was kidnapped and rendered to Ethiopia on the command of the Ethiopian government as part of a brutal crackdown on political opponents and civil rights activists. After being kidnapped, Andy was held in secret detention and in solitary confinement for over a year, without access to any form of due process. He has been paraded on Ethiopian TV looking ill and gaunt. He was given an in absentia death sentence in 2009, he could be executed at any time. Despite this, the British government refuses to act." To take action forAndy, email your MP, and sign the petition, which currently has nearly 130,000 signatures.
Saleyha Ahsan, doctor, journalist and human rights activist, supports the Countdown to Close Guantánamo.
Dr. David Nicholl, neurologist & human rights activist. David says, "Yes, that T-shirt sadly is from Gitmo."
300 days to go (Mar. 25, 2016)
The actor David Morrissey supports the Countdown to Close Guantánamo.
The actress Juliet Stevenson supports the Countdown to Close Guantánamo.
The actress and activist Caroline Lagerfelt says, "Dear Andy, Thank you for your leadership role in the fight."
Journalist and doctor Saleyha Ahsan, and Joanne MacInnes, activist and co-founder of the We Stand With Shaker campaign (to free Shaker Aamer from Guantánamo), support the Countdown to Close Guantánamo.
Fowzia Siddiqui, the sister of Aafia Siddiqui, whose case is one of the murkiest in the whole sorry saga of torture, "black sites" and disappearances in the "war on terror," says, "I think the detainees have suffered enough and any statements extracted during these horrendous tortures should be dismissed. They should be set free, otherwise they will end up like Aafia, facing a kangaroo trial, vindictive sentence and transferred to another hell hole legalised torture chamber like Aafia, with no contact to family or friends." Aafia Siddiqui was given an 86-year sentence in September 2010, allegedly after trying - and failing - to shoot two U.S. soldiers in Ghazni, Afghanistan in July 2008, after which she was rendered to the U.S. Her family, supporters and lawyers, however, have always claimed that she was actually held and abused in "black sites" for five years after her initial disappearance in Pakistan in March 2003. Also see the Free Aafia Siddiqui and Aafia Movement pages on Facebook.
Andy Worthington, the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (with the attorney Tom Wilner), says, "It is never good news when President Obama goes quiet on Guantánamo. Delivering a plan to Congress is not enough. The President needs to free those men already approved for release, some of whom have been waiting for their freedom for over six years since they were first told the U.S. no longer wanted to hold them. He also needs make sure the Periodic Review Boards continue. To date they have approved for release 20 out of 24 men who, for too many years, were mistakenly described as 'too dangerous to release.'" President Obama needs to know that the world is watching, and that he must close the prison as he promised before leaving office. Guantánamo is a legal, moral and ethical abomination, and every day it remains open is an affront to the notions of justice and respect for the rule of law that the U.S. claims to hold dear."
350 days to go (Feb. 4, 2016)
Djamel Ameziane, former Guantánamo prisoner (released in December 2013), says from Algiers, "President Obama, you promised to shut down Guantánamo and you have the power to do it, it is time to close the American offshore Gulag and put an end to a dark chapter in the American history."
Todd Pierce and Coleen Rowley, Minnesota, USA. Todd Pierce, Major, U.S. Army Judge Advocate General Corps (retired), represented Guantánamo prisoners as a military defense attorney in their military commission trials. Coleen Rowley is a former FBI agent and whistleblower.
Andy Worthington, the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (with the attorney Tom Wilner), says, "Time is running out, Mr. President. 91 men remain at Guantánamo, and yet, after 14 years, only ten are facing or have faced trials. Please recall how important it is to fulfill a promise, and work as strenuously as you can to get Guantánamo closed before you leave office, as you first promised on January 22, 2009."
Nancy Mancias, national campaign organizer for CODEPINK Women for Peace. Nancy is an anti-war advocate, and has also been part of the movement against torture and a proponent of closing Guantánamo. She also believes in accountability for war crimes, overseeing CODEPINK's Justice For All campaign.
Alli McCracken, CODEPINK co-director from the Washington, D.C. office.
1 year to go (Jan. 20, 2016)
Brian Eno, musician and producer. Andy Worthington and Joanne MacInnes, the co-founders of the We Stand With Shaker campaign, met Brian in London in December, and asked him to support the campaign to close Guantánamo in 2016.
Shaker Aamer, former Guantánamo prisoner, photographed outside the U.S. Embassy in London on January 7, 2016. As Shaker said before the 14th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo on January 11, "I look forward to standing with everyone -- all the brothers, my MP supporters and freedom campaigners -- for this extremely important mission of closing Guantánamo before President Obama leaves office. They might not let us come to America in person, but they can't stop our spirit and our message from reaching the American people and the rest of the world."
John McDonnell MP (Labour, Hayes and Harlington), the U.K. Shadow Chancellor, is a long-standing opponent of the existence of the prison at Guantánamo Bay. In November 2014, he established the All-Party Shaker Aamer Parliamentary Group, and co-chaired it with the Conservative MP David Davis. He was photographed on January 11, 2016, outside the U.S. Embassy, on the 14th anniversary of Guantánamo, when he said, "I am chair of the All-Party Shaker Aamer Parliamentary Group and it is part of our campaign to ensure Obama upholds his promises to shut down Guantánamo. This will bring an end to the atrocities taking place there. The reason why it is important that it is shut down before Obama finishes his term is because if it isn't by then there is the fear that it never will."
Five former Guantánamo prisoners -- from L to R: Ruhal Ahmed, Moazzam Begg, Shafiq Rasul, Shaker Aamer and Asif Iqbal -- meet for the first time, since the release of Shaker Aamer in October, outside the U.S. Embassy on January 11, 2016, the 14th anniversary of the opening of the prison. Shaker said beforehand, "Even though I've been free for two months, I haven't yet seen my fellow hostages from Guantánamo. This will be a momentous day when we gather for the first time to fulfill our ambition to see the closure of the prison and justice for our brothers still held there." On the day, he said, "We want everybody to know that today we are here not as brothers from Guantánamo [but] for one reason: It’s truly to bring justice back, to close Guantánamo once and for all." See the video here.
David Swanson, antiwar activist and author, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA. David added to his message to President Obama, "and free the prisoners and give Cuba its land back!"
Leah Bolger, Commander, U.S. Navy (retired) and past president of the national board of Veterans For Peace, Corvallis, Oregon, USA.
Yvonne Ridley, author and journalist, says to President Obama, "Don't let the Obama Years be defined by torture and Guantánamo. Bush was wrong, he knows he was wrong and that is how his presidency will be remembered. Now it is up to you to put things right. The clock is ticking and the world is watching. Do the right thing."
Andy Slaughter MP (Labour, Hammersmith), the Shadow Justice Minister, with former Guantánamo prisoner Shaker Aamer in Parliament on January 19, 2016. Andy visited Washington, D.C. in May 2015 as a member of the All-Party Shaker Aamer Parliamentary Group, meeting Senators ad Obama administration officials to call for Shaker's release. On his release in October, he wrote on Twitter, "Shaker Aamer will need help to recover from ordeal. Gov[ernmen]t needs to investigate his detention and treatment and lobby to close Guantánamo."
Five former Guantánamo prisoners -- from L to R: Moazzam Begg, Shaker Aamer, Ruhal Ahmed, Shafiq Rasul and Asif Iqbal -- with, 2nd from left, John McDonnell MP (Labour, Hayes and Harlington), the U.K. Shadow Chancellor, call for the closure of Guantánamo outside the U.S. Embassy on January 11, 2016, the 14th anniversary of the opening of the prison. Ruhal Ahmed, Shafiq Rasul and Asif Iqbal, known as the "Tipton Three," were held from 2002 to 2004. Iqbal said, "We were told by Obama that Guantánamo would close, and we feel betrayed. And it's not just us. The public has been betrayed." Speaking of former prisoners being rehoused far from their home countries, like two Yemenis sent to Ghana earlier this month, he said, "These are people, human beings. They can't just be treated like cattle, prodded and moved about from one place to the next. They need to go home."
Ruhal Ahmed, one of the "Tipton Three" -- three U.K. citizens from the West Midlands, held at Guantánamo from 2002 to 2004 -- spoke about Guantánamo outside the U.S. Embassy on January 11, 2016, the 14th anniversary of the opening of the prison, and said, "It’s been kept open by a country who claim to be the champions of democracy and champions of justice. It’s just a joke, to be honest. And it saddens me that it’s open, and I’m out, and I’ve moved on with life, and they haven’t, and they’re still stuck there." See the video here.
Shafiq Rasul, one of the "Tipton Three" -- three U.K. citizens from the West Midlands, held at Guantánamo from 2002 to 2004 -- spoke about Guantánamo outside the U.S. Embassy on January 11, 2016, the 14th anniversary of the opening of the prison, and described how there was no justice at Guantánamo. He said, "We were brought up to believe you’re innocent until proven guilty. But while we were there it was the other way around. It was guilty until proven innocent. It just feels that because we are Muslims we are already guilty, guilty of being Muslims, that’s what it is."
Former Guantánamo prisoners Moazzam Begg (released in 2005) and Shaker Aamer (released in October 2015) call for the closure of Guantánamo outside the U.S. Embassy on January 11, 2016, the 14th anniversary of the opening of the prison. Shaker said, "These  brothers [still in Guantánamo], they are sitting there for all these years. They are not looking for anything but to go home. That's all we ask -- just let them go home to their families." As Vice News described it, he "called on members of Congress to put their differences aside, beseeching them to 'forget about who to blame about Guantánamo' and just concentrate on shutting it down. Closing it down 'is going to bring justice to the Americans themselves. It is going to bring hope to everybody in the world,' he said."