18th September 2013 Minutes
Chair: David Huband
Chair welcomes all to the meeting
Minutes of July open meeting agreed.
- Monthly Action
Roz Cadwallader circulated copies of a letter to the President of Azerbaijan calling for the release of 14 people detained on trumped-up charges in retaliation for their political activism in the run-up to the Presidential election on October 9th.
- Shaker Aamer
Not a lot has happened this month – there is no further news of Shaker Aamer. The hunger strike in Guantanamo is in decline, though there are still 22 prisoners refusing to take food and being force-fed. However, 2 Algerian prisoners were released on 28th August – the first since President Obama’s last pledge to close Guantanamo. Jim Massey drafted a follow-up letter to be sent to local MPs asking them to enquire about the current status of a report of the recent interrogation of Shaker Aamer by members of the Metropolitan Police and also to sign the Early Day Motion related to this issue.
David Ford circulated information about our new case in Uzbekistan – giving background about the country and details about the case. Salidzhon Abdurakhmanov is a prisoner of conscience who was arrested in 2008, charged with possession of illegal drugs and imprisoned. It is believed that the charge was fabricated in order to punish him for his work as a human rights defender and an independent journalist. A letter to the President, copied to the Ambassador, was distributed.
- Urgent Action – Iran. (Before 10th October)
Hossein Ronaghi Maleki has been in prison since 2010. He has spent long periods in solitary confinement and has been tortured. He is a prisoner of conscience who is on hunger strike to protest against the conditions of political prisoners. His health is deteriorating rapidly and he needs urgent medical care. A letter was circulated.
We were very pleased to welcome Odai Alzoubi to speak about the current situation in Syria and answer questions. He emphasised the different situations in the north and south of Syria, and talked about the different views on foreign intervention. He referred to the use of chemical weapons but pointed out that Scud missiles were killing very many more civilians.
(NB. The advertised talk about the work of the British Red Cross had to be cancelled.)
Wednesday 16th October at 7.30pm