Saturday, March 20, 2010

New Video Trailer for Powerful Documentary -- "Outside the Law: Stories from Guantanamo"

I'm thrilled that Andy Worthington has posted links to a YouTube video trailer for the powerful documentary he did with Polly Nash on Guantánamo. (See the video below.)

No one has done more than Andy in bringing the truth about what has happened to every one of the prisoners held at Guantánamo since the United States opened the torture camp to its first prisoners at Camp X-ray in January 2002.

“Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” is a new documentary film, directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, telling the story of Guantánamo (and including sections on extraordinary rendition and secret prisons) with a particular focus on how the Bush administration turned its back on domestic and international laws, how prisoners were rounded up in Afghanistan and Pakistan without adequate screening (and often for bounty payments), and why some of these men may have been in Afghanistan or Pakistan for reasons unconnected with militancy or terrorism (as missionaries or humanitarian aid workers, for example).

The film is based around interviews with former prisoners (Moazzam Begg and, in his first major interview, Omar Deghayes, who was released in December 2007), lawyers for the prisoners (Clive Stafford Smith in the UK and Tom Wilner in the US), and journalist and author Andy Worthington, and also includes appearances from Guantánamo’s former Muslim chaplain James Yee, Shakeel Begg, a London-based Imam, and the British human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce.

Focusing on the stories of Shaker Aamer, Binyam Mohamed and Omar Deghayes, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” provides a powerful rebuke to those who believe that Guantánamo holds “the worst of the worst” and that the Bush administration was justified in responding to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 by holding men neither as prisoners of war, protected by the Geneva Conventions, nor as criminal suspects with habeas corpus rights, but as “illegal enemy combatants” with no rights whatsoever.

Throughout the tour, Omar, Andy and Polly (and other speakers) will be focusing on the plight of Shaker Aamer, the only one of the film’s main subjects who is still held in Guantánamo, despite being cleared for release in 2007, and despite the British government asking for him to be returned to the UK in August 2007.

“Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo”was launched in October 2009, and has already been screened as part of the Human Rights, Human Wrongs Film Festival in Oslo in February. It is a featured film in the forthcoming London International Documentary Festival in London at the end of April (date tbc), and is currently on a UK tour, with Andy and former prisoner Omar Deghayes (who are both featured in the film) travelling to the venues for post-screening Q&A sessions.

Forthcoming screenings are as follows (and a more detailed list can be found here):

Monday March 22, 5.30 pm: University of Dundee, Dalhousie Building, Old Hawkhill/Balfour Street, Dundee.

Tuesday March 23, 6 pm: University of Aberdeen, Lecture Theatre Fraser Nobel 1 (FN1), King’s College, Aberdeen.

Wednesday March 24, 7.30 pm: Augustine United Church, 41 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh.

Thursday March 25, 7 pm: Adelaides, 209 Bath Street, Glasgow.

Monday March 29, 5.45 pm: London South Bank University, London.

Wednesday March 31, 6.30 pm: The University of Nottingham, Room B63, Law and Social Sciences Building, University Park, Nottingham.

Tuesday April 20: Cardiff University.

Tuesday April 27, 6 pm: The University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester.

Tuesday May 4: Aston University, Aston Triangle, Birmingham.

Wednesday May 5, 6 pm: Birmingham Library Theatre, Paradise Place, Birmingham.

Tuesday May 11, 5.30 pm: Newcastle University, Lecture Theatre 3, Herschel Building, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Further dates will be added. Please bookmark the main tour page to keep up to date.

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files. “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” is a Spectacle Production (74 minutes, 2009), and copies of the DVD are now available

“Outside the Law” is essential viewing for anyone interested in Guantánamo and other prisons. The film explores what happens when a nation with a reputation for morality and justice acts out of impulse and fear. To my mind, Andy Worthington is a quintessential force for all things related to the journalism of GTMO and its inhabitants. As a military lawyer for Fayiz al-Kandari, I am constantly reminded that GTMO is ongoing and that people still have an opportunity to make history today by becoming involved. “Outside the Law” is a fantastic entry point into the arena that is GTMO.
Lt. Col. Barry Wingard, attorney for Guantánamo prisoner Fayiz al-Kandari

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