End 20 Years Of Injustice

Close Guantánamo Events to Mark the 20th Anniversary of the Opening of the Prison

Campaigners call for the closure of Guantánamo on Jan. 11, 2021 (Photo: Alli Jarrar).

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By Andy Worthington, January 5, 2022

As we approach a grim anniversary that all decent people hoped would never arrive — the 20th anniversary of the opening of the prison at Guantánamo Bay — we’re taking part in a number of events to mark the anniversary — mostly online, although a few are carefully organized live events — and our co-founders Andy Worthington and Tom Wilner are also available for interviews and media appearances.

Today, the prison has been open for 7,300 days, and as Andy noted in a message to President Biden, to accompany his photo as part of our ongoing poster campaign, "How did this happen? It’s nearly a year since you took office, and yet you have only released one prisoner, even though 13 others — out of the 39 men still held — have been approved for release by high-level U.S. government review processes. Eight of these men have been approved for release since you took office, and yet none of them have been freed. Approving men for release means nothing unless they are actually freed."

As Andy also explained, "In six days’ time, Guantánamo will have been open for 20 years. This is a truly shameful anniversary, and yet, despite making noises about wanting to close the prison, you and your administration have done nothing to demonstrate that you actually mean it. Please show some courage. Release the men approved for release, and announce how you intend to close the prison once and for all."

Saturday January 8, 2022

12.30-2.30pm GMT: “20 Years of Guantánamo: Close It Now!”
Our co-founder Andy Worthington will be speaking at a rally in Trafalgar Square at 2pm with former Guantánamo prisoner Omar Deghayes, John McDonnell MP, Imam Sulaiman Ghani and Kate Hudson, the Chair of CND. Prior to that, at 12.30pm, there will be a socially distanced march of 39 hooded activists in jumpsuits from the Houses of Parliament to Trafalgar Square. The event is organized by the Guantánamo Network (Amnesty International, Close Guantánamo, Guantánamo Justice Campaign, London Guantánamo Campaign and Freedom from Torture). Because of the current Covid situation, anyone wishing to take part in the march must be invited, although the rally is a public event. To be involved, please email Sara Birch, the convenor of the Guantánamo Network.

In the evening, at 6.30 pm GMT, Omar Deghayes is one of seven former prisoners taking part in "Guantánamo: 20 Years On", organized by CAGE. The other former prisoners are Moazzam Begg, Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Omar Khadr, Shaker Aamer, Ahmed Errachidi and Mansoor Adayfi, and lawyer Clive Stafford Smith is also taking part.

Tuesday January 11, 2022

10.30-11.30am Eastern Time (3.30-4.30pm GMT): "Guantánamo at Twenty: What is the Future of the Prison Camp?"
An online event hosted by New America, featuring Close Guantánamo co-founders Tom Wilner and Andy Worthington, and Karen Greenberg, the Director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School. Moderated by Peter Bergen.
The event page is here, and registration is here.

12 noon-1pm Eastern Time (5pm-6pm GMT): "President Biden: Why is Guantánamo still open? 20 Years Later and Still No Justice"
Our co-founder Tom Wilner will be speaking at this live rally outside the White House organized by Witness Against Torture and other groups, and Andy will be phoning in from the U.K. People from outside the area are encouraged not to attend in person because of the current Covid situation, but the event will be livestreamed on WAT’s Facebook page. The event page is here, and also see WAT’s post about other anniversary events.

2pm Eastern Time (7pm GMT): "Disrupt, Confront and Close Guantánamo: 20th Anniversary Virtual Rally"
Our co-founder Andy Worthington will be speaking at this online rally whose organizers include Amnesty International USA, the Center for Constitutional Rights and Witness Against Torture. More information coming soon. Register here.

4pm-6pm Eastern Time (9pm-11pm GMT): "Close Guantánamo NOW: 20 Years Too Long", New York Public Library, 42nd Street and 5th Avenue, New York
From London, our co-founder Andy Worthington will be joining this live protest, organized by the World Can’t Wait, featuring Nancy Hollander (Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s attorney), Debra Sweet (the World Can't Wait’s Director), Jeremy Varon of Witness Against Torture, and attorney and writer Seth Farber. The Facebook page is here.

And here are some other anniversary events taking place:

Sunday January 9, 4pm Eastern Time: "Remembering Guantánamo: Reflections from a Former Muslim Prisoner and the Muslim Chaplain"
Former prisoner Mansoor Adayfi in conversation with former Chaplain James Yee, in an online event hosted by Witness Against Torture. Moderated by Maha Hilal. The Facebook page for the event, including registration details, is here.

Monday January 10, 5.30pm CST (6.30pm Eastern Time): "Guantánamo Turns Twenty: Mansoor Adayfi in conversation with Antonio Aiello, Patricia Bronte, Marc Falkoff, and Alta L. Price"
An online event hosted by Pilsen Community Books in Chicago. Patricia Bronte and Marc Falkoff are attorneys who have both represented men held at Guantánamo. The Eventbrite page for the event, with registration details, is here.

Tuesday January 11, 5pm-6pm CET (4pm-5pm GMT): "Guantánamo turns 20: Rupture and Reckoning - Anthology and Online Art Exhibition Launch"
An online event hosted by the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, featuring Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Katherine Gallagher of the Center for Constitutional Rights, and Wolfgang Kaleck of ECCHR. The event is also the launch of an anthology, 'Rupture and Reckoning', whose contributors include the three speakers, and an online art exhibition. More details and registration here.

Wednesday January 12, 3pm-4:30pm Eastern Time: "Guantánamo, Off the Record: 20 Years in the Fight"
An online event hosted by the Center for Constitutional Rights, with Senior Staff Attorneys Wells Dixon, Omar Farah and Katherine Gallagher, and Advocacy Program Manager Aliya Hussain. Moderated by Vince Warren, CCR’s Executive Director. More details and registration here.

For other events, see Witness Against Torture's events page here.