NEWS RELEASE From the office of the Green MEPs

October 1st 2004


Place: Outside HMP Belmarsh, Western Way, Thamesmead, London, SE28

Event: London MEP addresses demo outside 'Britain's Guantanamo Bay'

Time: Sunday, October 3rd, 2pm

LAW Lords are to consider the fate of 14 terrorism suspects held without charge or trial at Belmarsh Prison, the London top-security jail dubbed 'Britain's Guantanamo'.

In a hearing due to start on Monday and expected to last four days, nine law lords will consider the legality of their continued incarceration without charge under the 2001 Anti-Terrorism and Security Act.

Campaigners for their release have argued the 2001 act is an unlawful breach of the European Convention on Human Rights - and the Human Rights Act which incorporates it into UK law - despite Home Secretary David Blunkett's 'derogation' - or temporary withdrawal - from the convention.

London Euro-MP Jean Lambert will join prisoners' families and human rights campaigners at a demonstration outside the prison this Sunday to show solidarity and demand the inmates' release ahead of next week's law lords' hearing.

Mrs Lambert, Green Party MEP and a member of the European Parliament's Civil Liberties and Human Rights Committees, said: "It is deeply shameful that a Labour government should detain people who have never been convicted or charged with any offence - for more than two years in some cases.

"Belmarsh has become Britain's Guantanamo - the only difference being that so few people are aware that this abuse of human rights is happening on our own soil."

"This is a disaster for democracy - the right to a fair trial should be unquestionable."

The demonstration and legal hearing comes as lawyers representing Moazzam Begg, one of four Britons held at Guantanamo Bay, released an uncensored letter from within the US military base, in which Mr Begg claims to have been tortured, threatened with death and kept in solitary confinement since early 2003.

Mrs Lambert said: "These shocking claims must prompt the government to demand a full explanation from the US government. There can be no place in civilised, democratic, law-abiding societies for torture, brutality, mistreatment - or the incarceration without trial we see both at Guantanamo and at Belmarsh here in the UK."

Sunday's demonstration has been organised by CAMPACC (Campaign Against criminalising Communities) and Stop Police Terror.



For more information please contact Ben on 01273 671946, 07973 823358 or