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Birmingham City Council supports Guantanamo men

The following motion was passed unanimously by Birmingham City Council on 13th July 2004.

This City Council believes that all citizens are equal before the law and that it will do all it can to tackle inequality (Priority Action 5 of the Cabinet and Corporate Plan 2004/2005). In that regard, the City Council and the citizens of Birmingham are:

  1. concerned to support civil liberty and justice for all its citizens, wherever they may be;
  2. united in their stand against terrorism - including terrorist activities perpetrated by sovereign States in the name of home security; and
  3. (concerned about any disregard of recognized International Law and civil liberties.

The Council notes that:

  1. since the creation of the Magna Carta, almost 800 years ago, it has been recognized that justice needs both to be done and be seen to be done for public confidence in the fairness of the procedures;
  2. there has been an absence of due process at Guantanamo and, in particular, the continued denial of the detainees' right to a fair trial is causing grave damage to international relations and the rule of law; and
  3. there is an urgent need to restore rights for all those held at Guantanamo.

With a view to enhancing community cohesion in Birmingham (and other parts of the UK), therefore, this City Council calls upon the British Government (and Birmingham MPs) to do all it (and they) can to:

  1. ensure justice prevails for all UK citizens (regardless of, in particular, religion, colour, race, sex, ethnicity or ethnic origin);
  2. support Lord Goldsmith (Attorney General) in his publicly stated view that a fair trial is one of the principles with which there can be no compromise and that the UK, therefore, cannot accept that US military tribunals offer sufficient safeguards of a fair trial for civilians in accordance with International standards; and
  3. honour its responsibility under international law by insisting upon the immediate repatriation of Moazzam Begg and the three other British citizens and five British residents still held at Guantanamo and, upon their return to this country, should there be any charges brought against them, they be medically examined and, if deemed fit to stand trial, tried in accordance with the law and, if there are no charges or evidence against them, they should be immediately and unconditionally released.