“Guantanamo Bay makes us all less safe” – Carmichael

Alistair Carmichael, MP for Orkney and Shetland, today called for the UK Government to clarify whether it will support Guantanamo Bay remaining open in the aftermath of the news that Jamal Al-Harith, who was held and tortured in the detention camp for two years, without charge, had become radicalised and joined ISIL, and committed a suicide attack in Mosul earlier this month.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr. Carmichael asked:

“The root of the problem here is the operation of the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay. The Government previously supported President Obama’s aspiration to see it closed and to see a reduction in the numbers there. The current President when he was campaigning said he was going to load it up with “some bad dudes”. Does the Government now support President Obama’s position or President Trump’s?”

Responding on behalf of the Government, Minister of State for Security, Ben Wallace MP, said:

“I think before the Government comments on the United States, actually you can see what the actions are for themselves. I can tell you from my own personal experience as a young officer in Northern Ireland doing counter terrorism is that torture, degrading people, doesn’t work. It doesn’t get you the results you want. In fact usually it extends conflict, and people should know that the use of torture will not be tolerated. That is why I was delighted that in the criminal finance bill which was passed on Friday will introduce a new power to allow the Government and law enforcement agencies to freeze assets of people guilty of human rights abuse anywhere in the world.”

Speaking after the exchange, Mr. Carmichael said:

“Jamal Al-Harith was detained in Guantanamo Bay for two years. He was subjected to torture, ‘advanced interrogation’ and religious abuses. His rights were denied, and at no point was he ever charged.

“There is no place for these human rights abuses in a civilised nation. Guantanamo Bay plays into the propaganda of our enemies, and makes us all less safe. The UK Government must push our American allies to close this cruel and barbaric prison, and to ensure that we uphold our values of freedom, justice, and fair treatment.”