(Image courtesy of Paulo on Flickr)

Written By: Joanne MacInnes

On the 14th anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo Bay, 7 former British hostages will gather outside the US embassy in London to call for the closure of the infamous detention centre.

DATE:      Monday January 11th, 2016

TIME:       3pm* (interviews/photo opps also available between 6-8pm**)

PLACE:     US Embassy, 24 Grosvenor Square, London W1A 2LQ



On the 14th anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo Bay, 7 former British hostages will gather outside the US embassy in London to call for the closure of the infamous detention centre.


They will include Shaker Aamer who was freed in October 2015 after being incarcerated for 14 years without evidence, charge or trial. He was initially imprisoned at an American base in Afghanistan before his transfer to Guantanamo and, since his release, has spoken of the unimaginable torture and psychological abuse he suffered in both detention centres.


In an unprecedented show of public unity, Shaker will be joined by former detainees including Moazzam Begg and Ruhal Ahmed. It will be an emotional first meeting for the men who have never before met to share their experiences of imprisonment at Guantanamo with Shaker. Its an historical moment as this is the largest gathering of former detainees to protest the prison.


The London vigil (***organised by London Guantanamo campaign) coincides with a demonstration outside the White House on Monday when campaigners will be urging President Obama – who has referred to the prison as both a recruiting tool for extremists and a stain on America’s reputation – to overcome opposition and honour the commitment he made on Day 1 of his administration to close Guantanamo within a year.


The Washington protest is being organised by campaign groups including Witness Against Torture. They will be using a giant inflatable effigy of Shaker who has pledged to devote his life to campaigning for the closure of Guantanamo. As an ex detainee, he is banned from entering the US.

Andy Worthington, Co-Director of the We Stand With Shaker campaign which worked to secure his release, flew to the US with the effigy last week to join the demonstration.


Shaker says: “Even though I’ve been free for three months, I haven’t yet seen my fellow hostages from Guantanamo. This will be a momentous day when we gather for the first time to fulfil our ambition to see the closure of the prison and justice for our brothers still held there.”

“I look forward to standing with everyone – all the brothers, my MP supporters and freedom campaigners – on this extremely important mission of closing Guantanamo 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 public and the rest of the world


More than 100 detainees are still imprisoned at Guantanamo seven years after President Obama’s promise to shut it down.


Witness Against Torture spokesman Jeremy Varon said: “Now is the time for Obama to accomplish a central goal of his administration by closing Guantánamo. There is today a renewed climate of fear and hate reminiscent of the post-September 11 mindset that led to torture and indefinite detention in the first place. Guantánamo is the bitter legacy of a politics of fear, which must be rejected.”



  • *The 7 former Guantanamo detainees will be available for photos from 3.15pm – 3.30pm
  • 3 former detainees – Shaker Aamer, Moazzam Begg and Ruhal Ahmed – will be available for interview (strictly by prior arrangement) from 3.30pm to 4.15pm
  • Moazzam Begg is available for pre-recorded interviews prior to the event
  • **The Close Guantanamo campaign group will be holding a vigil outside the embassy from 6-8pm. They will be joined by the former detainees, along with MPs and celebrities who support the campaign. Interviewees will be available during the vigil.
  • The 7 former detainees are: Shaker Aamer, Moazzam Begg, Ruhal Ahmad, Tarek Dergoul, Asif Iqbal, Shafiq Rasul and Bishar al-Rawi


For further information/ to arrange interviews, please contact:

We Stand with Shaker Co-Director Joanne MacInnes:

Tel: 07867 553580 or joannemacinnes@icloud.com


(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)