Greens join Muslims to launch EU Guantánamo campaign

Green MEPs and the British Muslim Initiative called on the government on Thursday to step up efforts to bring Guantánamo Bay detainee Omar Deghayes back home to Brighton.

Speaking at the launch of a new campaign for European Union countries to offer homes to Guantánamo detainees, Sussex MEP Caroline Lucas pointed out that it’s been almost two months since the Foreign Office asked for Mr Deghayes’s release, “but he’s still being held captive unlawfully and we are all left waiting”. “The government must use the occasion of the current UN talks to press the urgency of Omar’s case,” Ms Lucas insisted.

Dr Lucas made her comments as she joined other Green Party MEPs in calling for EU governments to grant refugee status to other innocent men who are currently being held without charge at the concentration camp.

The MEPs have thrown their support behind a campaign spearheaded by French human rights group FIDH for asylum be to be offered to those Guantánamo detainees who are being held, on the grounds that they could face torture or persecution if returned to their home country. There are thought to be about 45 such prisoners.

British Muslim Initiative spokesman Anas Al-Tikriti also called on ministers to intensify their efforts to get Mr Deghayes back home. Mr al-Tikriti hailed the FIDH initiative, noting that at least one Tunisian detainee has pleaded to be allowed to remain in Guantánamo rather than face torture in Tunisia.

And he insisted that “those who masterminded Guantánamo, those who worked out its form and manner of functioning, should face trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity.” Mr Al-Tikriti warned that, if they were to get away scot-free, “other countries will feel that it is OK for them to commit the same crimes.”

Morning Star, 28 September 2007