Reprieve delivers justice and saves lives, from death row to Guantánamo Bay.
Clive Stafford Smith, director of Reprieve, the organisation which specialises in providing legal support for defending human rights, especially Death Row cases in the USA, shares his Private Passions with Michael Berkeley this afternoon.
Many of Clive's musical choices are influenced by his work, including a gospel choir singing Jesus Dropped The Charges, Peter Gabriel's Biko and Sunshine On Leith by The Proclaimers. He also loves Bach, Rossini and Thomas Tallis.
How Binyam is coping with his first few days of freedom.
“I still think I might wake up tomorrow morning and find myself back in Guantánamo Bay,” Binyam Mohamed told me, as we took a walk in the countryside after his release last week. “It would all be the same. I’d just find that I had just been allowed to spend a rather longer-than-normal visit with my attorney.”
Adjusting after seven years in prison is not easy; adjusting after the surreal nightmare of seven years of torture, much harder. Binyam and I talked as we climbed a hill in ...
Clare Algar questions the role of the British government in the detention of Binyam Mohamed.
British resident Binyam Mohamed, who has spent 7 years of his life in US custody, most recently in Guantanamo Bay, came home to the UK yesterday. All charges against him have been dropped. Reprieve lawyers have acted for Binyam during his time in Guantanamo Bay and we are delighted with this news. Binyam’s extraordinary ordeal of torture and unlawful imprisonment is now over, but there are still unanswered questions about the role the British government played in Binyam’s story.
Binyam was captured in ...
President Obama has decided to deny Bagram's prisoners their rights.
President Obama has, sadly, has stuck to his predecessor’s plan, arguing that prisoners held in the Bagram Air Force Base outside Kabul, Afghanistan, have no right to petition the courts for review of their detention.
Bagram is to remain another lawless enclave. Indeed, it’s the “Bagram Bait and Switch”. Instead of 242 prisoners in Guantánamo, there are to be 1,100 prisoners held beyond the rule of law in Bagram.
For a long time now, at Reprieve, we have emphasized that Guantánamo Bay was a diversionary tactic ...
How has a basically decent person such as David Miliband got himself into such a muddle over torture?
Binyam Mohamed was rendered by the CIA from Pakistan to Morocco to face 18 months of torture. As we have tried to reunite him with his legal rights, I and other lawyers at Reprieve have witnessed his declining mental and physical health. Since the New Year, he has been on a hungerstrike, force fed in the gratuitously unpleasant process employed in Guantánamo Bay. More than once he has collapsed from the pain.
As his suffering dragged on towards an eighth year ...
The British and America governments are under pressure over the alleged torture of Binyam Mohamed, a British resident of Guantánamo Bay. His lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, says although evidence of torture remains secret, the judges posed some awkward questions.
Sultana Noon meets a new client in Pakistan.
The first time I met with Faisal, we talked for almost two hours. He sat inside his cell and talked to me through the bar door.
I expected him to ask me a lot of questions to verify my identity as clients who have been let down by the law have no reason to trust anyone who claims to be working in their best interests. I thought that building a relationship of trust would probably take a few visits until he realises that I drive for four hours to meet with him ...
Only a few days ago, on January 20th, Americans said Happy New (Four) Year(s), with the inauguration of Barack Obama.
Before the place closes, I might have a couple more opportunities to get down to Guantánamo Bay. Nothing very much has changed. Some of the soldiers have become disillusioned, knowing that their orders place them on the wrong side of history. They talk more, they try to make life a little easier on the prisoners. Their commanders have become more dogmatic, if that were possible, like dogs who refuse to give up a bone.
In a way, I ...
Barack Obama has done his bit for justice by suspending trials at Guantánamo, now Britain must give a home to some of its prisoners.
President Barack Obama started boldly, barely completing his dancing with Michelle at the Inaugural Balls before suspending the military commissions in Guantánamo Bay. Most people in Britain, including even George W. Bush’s closest chum Tony Blair, have long since called for the closure of the notorious prison.
There is good reason to join the chorus of criticism. Of the 779 prisoners held there, 539 have been released without charges. Of the 240 who ...
Obama has been left with a chalice overflowing with poison, and he will need help if he is to pour it away.
In between marking his dance card at the Inaugural Ball, President Obama asked the military prosecutors to halt the Guantánamo Bay military commissions. After less than a day in office, his office circulated a draft order that would close the prison within a year. Such an immediate move was a strong statement of purpose, and a very welcome one. Tackling Guantánamo is seen as a discrete problem, relatively simple to solve when compared to economic meltdowns ...