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"Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo." - New documentary on UK tour

Andy Worthington | 23.02.2010 18:00 | Guantánamo | History | Terror War | Oxford | Sheffield

Focuses on prisoners whose torture has been exposed by UK courts and is being investigated by police

Former prisoner Omar Deghayes and journalist Andy Worthington will be speaking at screenings across the country

"Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo" is a new documentary film, directed by filmmaker Polly Nash and journalist Andy Worthington (author of The Guantánamo Files). The film focuses on the stories of three particular prisoners - Shaker Aamer (who is still held), Binyam Mohamed (released in 2009) and Omar Deghayes (released in 2007) - and the tour coincides with a mounting scandal involving British complicity in torture, which focuses on Shaker Aamer and Binyam Mohamed.


On 10 February, the UK Court of Appeal ordered the release of a summary of documents revealing that US agents had tortured Binyam Mohamed while he was held in Pakistan in 2002, and that the British government knew about it. Foreign secretary David Miliband had tried to suppress this summary for 18 months. MI5's involvement in Mohamed's case is now being investigated by the Metropolitan Police, and on 19 February it was revealed that the Met is now investigating claims that Shaker Aamer was tortured in US custody in Afghanistan, while British agents were present.

Tour dates

  • Saturday February 27: National Film Theatre, South Bank (organized by the BFI)
  • Monday March 1: LSE, London
  • Thursday March 4: Roehampton University
  • Friday March 5: Oxford Brookes University
  • Tuesday March 9: Bradford Playhouse
  • Wednesday March 10: Norwich
  • Thursday March 11: Sheffield Hallam University
  • Tuesday March 16: SOAS, London
  • Wednesday March 17: UCL, London
  • Thursday March 18: The University of Kent, Canterbury
  • Monday March 22: The University of Dundee
  • Tuesday March 23: The University of Aberdeen
  • Wednesday March 24: Edinburgh
  • Thursday March 25: Glasgow

Further dates to follow.

About the film

"Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo" tells the story of Guantánamo, and includes sections on "extraordinary rendition" and secret prisons, explaining 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.

"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.

For further information, interviews, or to inquire about broadcasting, distributing or screening "Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo," please contact Andy Worthington or Polly Nash.

"Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo" is a Spectacle production. The tour is arranged by Spectacle, the Guantánamo Justice Centre and Andy Worthington.

"Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo" - UK Tour Dates 2010

Below is a list of the confirmed screenings to date. Updates will be added to the tour page on Andy Worthington's Blog.

February 2010

Tuesday February 16, 6.30 pm: Film screening - "Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo." Followed by Q&A.
Amnesty International Human Rights Action Centre, 17-25 New Inn Yard, London, EC2A 3EA
(map and directions here).
With Omar Deghayes and Andy Worthington. Q&A chaired by Widney Brown, the Senior Director of International Law and Policy at the International Secretariat.
For further information, see here. And see here for a report on the screening.

Tuesday February 23, 5.15 pm: Screening of "Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo." Followed by Q&A with Andy Worthington.
QMUL (Queen Mary University of London), Lock Keeper's Cottage, Mile End Campus, London, E1.

The screening follows an afternoon seminar, "Closing Guantánamo: one year on," organized by QMUL's Centre for Global Security and Development. This event starts at 1.30 pm, and the general public are welcome. Speakers include: Will Rowlandson (University of Kent), Wayne Morrison (QMUL), Geraldine Lievesley (Manchester Metropolitan University), Simon Reid-Henry (QMUL) and Andy Worthington, discussing, "Principles v. pragmatism: Obama's failure to close Guantánamo."
For further information, please contact Simon Reid-Henry. Also see the CGSD website.

Saturday February 27, 2 pm: Film screening - "Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo." Followed by Q&A.
NFT2 (National Film Theatre), South Bank, London
(map and directions here).
With Omar Deghayes, Gareth Peirce, Andy Worthington and Polly Nash. Q&A moderated by Victoria Brittain, followed by an opportunity to meet the panelists to discuss further action on Shaker Aamer's behalf, and to receive information from stallholders conducting relevant campaigns.
This screening is organized by the BFI (British Film Institute).
For further information, see here. To book tickets, please visit the BFI website.

March 2010

Monday March 1, 6.30 pm: Film screening - "Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo." Followed by Q&A.
New Theatre, East Building, LSE (London School of Economics), London, WC2A 2AE.

With Omar Deghayes, Andy Worthington and Polly Nash.
The film is screening as the centerpiece of LSE Amnesty International Society's Human Rights Week 2010.
For further information, please contact Noémie Adam. Also see LSE Amnesty's Facebook page.

Thursday March 4, lunchtime (time tbc): Film screening - "Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo." Followed by Q&A.
Roehampton University. Venue tbc.

With Omar Deghayes and Andy Worthington.
This screening is part of an event focusing on the work of the Guantánamo Justice Centre.

Friday March 5, 7 pm: Film screening - "Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo." Followed by Q&A.
Oxford Brookes University, Headington Hill Hall, Headington Campus, Gipsy Lane, Oxford, OX3 0BP.

With Omar Deghayes, Andy Worthington, Polly Nash and human rights lawyer Sudhansu Swaroop.
The film is screening as part of Oxford Brookes University's annual Human Rights Film and Music Festival, organized by postgraduate students on the MA course in Development and Emergency Practice.
For further information, please contact Bethanie Cunnick. Also see the website here, and this page.

Tuesday March 9, 7.30 pm: Film screening - "Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo." Followed by Q&A.
Bradford Playhouse, 4-12 Chapel St, Little Germany, Bradford, BD1 5DL.

With Omar Deghayes and Andy Worthington.
This screening has been facilitated with the support of Bradford Amnesty International Group.
For further information, please contact Eleanor Barrett, Director, Bradford Playhouse. Also, see the website here.

Wednesday March 10, 7 pm: Film screening - "Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo." Followed by Q&A.
The Forum, Millennium Plain, Norwich, NR2 1AW
(map and directions here).
With Omar Deghayes and Andy Worthington.
This screening is organized by Norwich Stop the War Coalition.
For further information, please contact Frank Stone.

Thursday March 11, time tbc: Film screening - "Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo." Followed by Q&A.
Sheffield Hallam University.
Further details to follow.
With Omar Deghayes and Andy Worthington.

Tuesday March 16, 7 pm: Film screening - "Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo." Followed by Q&A.
Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies), Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London, WC1H 0XG.

With Omar Deghayes, Andy Worthington and Polly Nash. Q&A moderated by Laleh Khalili, Senior Lecturer in Politics of the Middle East.

Wednesday March 17, 6 pm: Film screening - "Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo." Followed by Q&A.
UCL, Edward Lewis Theatre, Windeyer Institute, 46 Cleveland Street London, W1T 4JF.

With Omar Deghayes, Andy Worthington and special guest Philippe Sands, barrister, Professor of International Law at UCL and author of Torture Team.
For further information, please contact Ben Rutledge.

Thursday March 18, 5 pm: Film screening - "Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo." Followed by Q&A.
University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NF. Venue tbc.

With Omar Deghayes and Andy Worthington.
For further information, please contact William Rowlandson, Lecturer and Head of Hispanic Studies.

Monday March 22, early evening (time tbc): Film screening - "Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo." Followed by Q&A.
University of Dundee, Nethergate, Dundee, DD1 4HN. Venue tbc.

With Omar Deghayes and Andy Worthington.
This screening is organized by Dundee University Students Association.
For further information, please contact Craig.

Tuesday March 23, early evening (time tbc): Film screening - "Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo." Followed by Q&A.
University of Aberdeen, King's College, Aberdeen, AB24 3FX. Venue tbc.

With Omar Deghayes and Andy Worthington.
This screening is organized by Aberdeen University Amnesty International Society. For further information, please contact Annika Wipprecht. See the website here.

Wednesday March 24, 7.30 pm: Film screening - "Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo." Followed by Q&A.
Edinburgh. Augustine United Church, 41 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1EL.

With Omar Deghayes and Andy Worthington.
This screening is organized by SACC (Scotland Against Criminalising Communities). For further information, please contact Richard Haley.

Thursday March 25, 7 pm: Film screening - "Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo." Followed by Q&A.
Adelaides, 209 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4HZ.

With Omar Deghayes and Andy Worthington.
This screening is organized by SACC (Scotland Against Criminalising Communities). For further information, please contact Richard Haley.

Wednesday March 31, 6.30 pm: Film screening - "Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo." Followed by Q&A.
Room B63, Law and Social Sciences Building, The University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD.

With Omar Deghayes and Andy Worthington. Q&A chaired by Professor Nigel White.
This screening is organized by the Human Rights Film Group at the University of Nottingham, a student-led initiative, showing engaging and provocative films which bring challenging human rights issues to life. Screenings are organised by a student committee with the support of the Human Rights Law Centre and are free and open to the community. For further information, please contact The Human Rights Film Series.

April 2010

Tuesday April 27, early evening (time tbc): Film screening - "Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo." Followed by Q&A.
University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, CO4 3SQ. Venue tbc.

With Omar Deghayes and Andy Worthington.
This is screening is organized by the University of Essex's Human Rights Centre, Human Rights Society and Amnesty International Society, as part of the annual "Spring Festival: Art & Culture For Humanity," which runs from April 26 to May 2.
For further information, please contact Sylvain Aubry. See the website here.

October 2010

Tuesday October 19, early evening (time tbc): Film screening - "Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo." Followed by Q&A.
The Forum Theatre, Malvern Theatres, Grange Road, Malvern, WR14 3HB.

With Omar Deghayes and Andy Worthington.
This screening is organized by Malvern Amnesty Group. See the website here.

About the film

"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.

Take action for Shaker Aamer

Shaker Aamer and two of his childrenThroughout the tour, Omar, Andy, Moazzam 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.

Born in Saudi Arabia, Shaker Aamer moved to the UK in 1994, and was a legal British resident at the time of his capture, after he had traveled to Afghanistan with Moazzam Begg (and their families) to establish a girls' school and some well-digging projects. He has a British wife and four British children (although he has never seen his youngest child).

As the foremost advocate of the prisoners' rights in Guantánamo, Shaker's influence upset the US authorities to such an extent that those pressing for his return fear that the US government wants to return him to Saudi Arabia, the country of his birth, where he will not be at liberty to tell his story, and recent revelations indicate that, despite claims that it has been doing all in its power to secure his release, the British government may also share this view.

In December 2009, it emerged in a court case in the UK that British agents witnessed his abuse while he was held in US custody in Afghanistan, and in January 2010, for Harper's Magazine, law professor Scott Horton reported that he was tortured in Guantánamo on the same night, in June 2006, that three other men appear to have been killed by representatives of an unknown US agency, and that a cover-up then took place, which successfully passed the deaths off as suicides.

At the screenings, the speakers will discuss what steps we can all take to put pressure on the British government to demand the return of Shaker Aamer to the UK, to be reunited with his family. To get involved now, please visit this Amnesty International action page, to find details of how you can write to David Miliband and Gordon Brown, asking them to demand Shaker's return. Please also visit this page for a video of Shaker's daughter Johina handing in a letter to Gordon Brown at 10 Downing Street on January 11, 2010.

Recent feedback

"The film was great - not because I was in it, but because it told the legal and human story of Guantánamo more clearly than anything I have seen."
Tom Wilner, US attorney who represented the Guantánamo prisoners before the US Supreme Court

"The film was fantastic! It has the unique ability of humanizing those who were detained at Guantánamo like no other I have seen."
Sari Gelzer, Truthout

"Engaging and moving, and personal. The first [film] to really take you through the lives of the men from their own eyes."
Debra Sweet, The World Can't Wait

"I am part of a community of folks from the US who attempted to visit the Guantánamo prison in December 2005, and ended up fasting for a number of days outside the gates. We went then, and we continue our work now, because we heard the cries for justice from within the prison walls. As we gathered tonight as a community, we watched "Outside the Law," and by the end, we all sat silent, many with tears in our eyes and on our faces. I have so much I'd like to say, but for now I wanted to write a quick note to say how grateful we are that you are out, and that you are speaking out with such profound humanity. I am only sorry what we can do is so little, and that so many remain in the prison."
Matt Daloisio, Witness Against Torture

For further information, interviews, or to inquire about broadcasting, distributing or showing "Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo," please contact Polly Nash or Andy Worthington. For inquiries about screenings, please also feel free to contact Maryam Hassan.

Andy Worthington
- e-mail: andy@andyworthington.co.uk
- Homepage: http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/

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  1. Sheffield screening postponed — Chris
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