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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

EU has crucial role to play in Guantanamo closure, Green MEP states

Green MEP for London, Jean Lambert, has called upon Europe to play its part in facilitating the closure of Guantanamo Bay by offering to resettle cleared prisoners at a special European Parliament film screening yesterday.

The documentary film, entitled ‘Outside the Law’, tells the story of Guantanamo Bay detention centre in Cuba, where over 170 men are still being held despite President Obama’s pledge to close Guantanamo by 22nd January 2010.  Focusing on the stories of three particular prisoners, Shaker Aamer, Binyam Mohamed and Omar Deghayes, the film explores how the Bush administration turned its back on international and national law by holding ‘terrorism’ suspects indefinitely without charge or trial.

Of the 171 men held at the camp, 89 have been cleared for release by the US Guantanamo Review Task Force, yet the absence of offers from other countries to help resettle detainees who fear torture of persecution if returned home have prevented them from finally being freed.  Despite several EU Member States, such as the UK, Spain and Germany, showing an intitial willingness to resettle prisoners, progress has since been slow with only 26 men accepted across Europe.

Speaking at the screening, Jean said: “It remains a scar on the conscience of the international community that governments of democratic states have been so unwilling to assist the United States in helping to find alternative arrangements for detainees.

“The European Parliament is clear that Member States should aid the USA in the closure of Guantanamo by taking detainees cleared for release.  With Guantanamo recently making the 10th anniversary of its opening, with no sign of when, if ever, it will close, it would be a powerful humanitarian gesture if European countries once more ageed to take cleared prisoners.”

Notes to Editor

1. The film screening was attended by Moazzam Begg, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee, and was co-hosted by London MEPs Jean Lambert and Sarah Ludford and Portuguese MEP Ana Gomes.