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End these detentions

Saturday April 3, 2004
The Guardian

We would like to express our concern regarding the continued detention without trial of 13 foreign nationals in British prisons. There are eight people currently being held at Belmarsh prison in south London and five in other prisons. Many of the detainees have been held for more than 18 months, resulting in a growing deterioration of their physical and mental health. We call on the British government to either charge and try the individuals before a fully accredited court of law, or release them. The detention of these individuals without showing any just cause is inhumane and violates the principles of freedom and justice. We are also concerned about the detention of more than 600 people at Guantánamo Bay. Four of these individuals are British citizens. Like the internment cases here, no just cause has been shown for those being held.

We urge the British government to not only secure their release and repatriation, but also use its good offices to press for the charging or release of all others being held at Guantánamo. The undersigned will be among those speaking at a rally organised by the Campaign Against Criminalising Communities at midday outside Belmarsh prison tomorrow.

Jean Lambert MEP
Green party

Catrin Lewis
Chair, Haldane Society

Dr G Siddiqui
Muslim Parliament

Paul Donovan
Peace & Justice in East London

Belmarsh protest 4 April 2004

Dr G. Siddiqui, Leader of the Muslim Parliament, said that the Taliban and Al Qaeda were the very people who were supported by the West at one point but the detainees are being held because of alledged association with these groups. The spiritual leaders of the Taliban met with ministers David Blunkett and Mike O'Brian in London last week which shows the hypocrisy of the situation. The Muslims are the new enemies - in the UK over the last 3 or 4 years over 50,000 Muslims have been stopped and searched yet only 540 have been arrested, 9o charged and 5 convicted. Young Muslims are losing confidence in the rule of law in the UK. The government is saying that the Muslim community has to be within the law yet the government can be above it.

The protest got off to a noisy start with samba from Rhythms of Resistance, standing here with the People's Freedom Front, highlighting the plight of political prisoners in Turkey




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