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HOUSE

PARTY
GUIDE

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL USA


www.amnestyusa.org/ctwj
CONTENTS

01 Introduction
02 About the Film
03 Plan a House Party
08 For Discussion
09 Fact Sheet
10 Background Q&A
13 Take Action
14 Petition
15 Casesheet
17 Contact Amnesty

Amnesty International USA • www.amnestyusa.org/ctwj


HOUSE PARTY GUIDE
INTRODUCTION
Thank you for watching Alex Gibney’s Taxi to the Dark Side. And thank you for deciding to take action
to end torture and other human rights abuses committed by the U.S. government in the “war on terror”
that are documented in the film. Whether you use this guide to take action on your own or use it to host
a house party to share the film with others, you’ll be joining over 2.2 million people around the world
who take action for human rights though Amnesty International. By each doing a small part, we use the
power of collective action to influence governments, companies and others to abide by international
human rights laws and standards. Thank you for being a part of our global movement to ensure human
rights, justice, and security for humanity.

— Amnesty International’s Counter Terror With Justice Campaign Team

ABOUT US
Amnesty International USA’s Counter Terror With Justice Campaign works to end human rights abuses
committed by the U.S. government and contractors in the “war on terror.” Guantánamo, a symbol of
injustice, must be closed. Detainees held there and at other facilities, like Bagram in Afghanistan, must
be charged and given fair trials, or be released. Torture and attacks on civilians must stop. We call for
an independent commission of inquiry to conduct a thorough investigation into torture and other abuses
conducted in the “war on terror” and for those responsible to be held accountable. The U.S. government
must respect and protect human rights, and counter terror with justice.
Amnesty International is a global movement of 2.2 million people in more than 150 countries and
territories who campaign to end grave abuses of human rights. Our vision is for every person to enjoy
all of the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human
rights standards. We are independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest, or reli-
gion. We are funded mainly by our members and public donations. Amnesty International USA (AIUSA)
is the U.S. Section of Amnesty International.
Join Us! www.amnestyusa.org/ctwj

Amnesty International USA • www.amnestyusa.org/ctwj


HOUSE PARTY GUIDE
ABOUT THE FILM
Winner of the 2008 Academy Award® for Best Bagram Air Base prison, where he died of wounds
Documentary Feature and a 2008 Peabody Award, to the lower extremities after four days. Second,
Taxi to the Dark Side takes a disturbing, in-depth it evokes a statement Vice President Dick Cheney
look at the highly questionable and often illegal in- made to Tim Russert a few days after the 9/11 at-
terrogation practices used by the U.S. government at tacks. “We also have to work the dark side, if you
detention facilities in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guan- will,” said Cheney of the U.S. strategy to bring ter-
tánamo Bay in the years following 9/11. rorists to justice. “We’ve got to spend time in the
Beginning with the story of an innocent young shadows in the intelligence world.”
Afghan taxi driver named Dilawar, who was killed in Taxi to the Dark Side examines the spread of
2002 while being held at the Bagram Air Base prison abuse in U.S. prisons abroad, featuring the case of
in Afghanistan, Taxi to the Dark Side tells the grim, Mohammad al-Qahtani, a suspected “20th hijacker”
cautionary saga of how the U.S. government, des- of 9/11, who was subjected to new, humiliating in-
perate to draw out information from a top Al Qaeda terrogation tactics in an attempt to get him to reveal
leader detained in Guantánamo Bay, approved the information in Guantánamo Bay. With the apparent
use of torture and other cruel and unusual interroga- approval of Secretary of State Rumsfeld, these tac-
tion techniques. These tactics were systematically tics were exported to Afghanistan and Iraq, where
exported to other overseas U.S. prisons — some guards subjected detainees to increasingly sadistic
known, some secret. acts. As the film shows, after the now-famous Abu
In examining the interrogation practices used in Ghraib prison photos were published in 2004, many
Bagram, Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay, the film soldiers were brought to trial, discharged and/or im-
features shocking photos, archival footage, expert prisoned—but the damage had already been done.
commentary, and interviews with several soldiers No senior administration official has been held re-
stationed at military prisons in Afghanistan and Iraq. sponsible for the abuses perpetrated against detain-
These guards admit to using abusive techniques— ees in the name of fighting terrorism.
including isolation, ceiling handcuffing, sleep de- Running time: 106 minutes
privation, strip humiliation, threats by menacing
Warning: Taxi to the Dark Side was rated R by the Motion
dogs, sexual abuse and more—that they say were
Picture Association of America for disturbing images, and
condoned and even approved by their superiors, content involving torture and graphic nudity. Children un-
despite being in clear violation of the humanitar- der 17 are not allowed to attend R-rated motion pictures
ian rules outlined in the Geneva Conventions and in unaccompanied by a parent or adult guardian. Parents
are strongly urged to find out more about R-rated motion
U.S. military guidelines. They also admit to the use
pictures in determining their suitability for their children.
of “waterboarding,” a form of torture that is illegal Generally, it is not appropriate for parents to bring their
under U.S. and international law. young children with them to R-rated motion pictures.
The title of Taxi to the Dark Side refers first to
an Afghan cabbie named Dilawar, who was appre-
hended by U.S. soldiers in 2002 and detained in the

Amnesty International USA • www.amnestyusa.org/ctwj


HOUSE PARTY GUIDE
PLAN A HOUSE PARTY
WHAT IS A HOUSE PARTY?
A house party is an opportunity to raise awareness and mobilize action in support of our human rights
work. House Parties are an invaluable way of communicating your message in a non-threatening, casual
and friendly atmosphere and a fun and energizing way to educate people about human rights! Amnesty
International relies on its members to expose and stop human rights abuses worldwide. By hosting a
House Party, not only are you helping to raise much needed support for our work, but you are joining a
global movement for human rights worldwide! All you need is a cool environment, some snacks and a
master plan … which of course, we’ll help you put together with this kit!

BE SURE TO:
» Register to host your own DVD House Party/Special Screening of the movie Taxi to the Dark Side.
By registering your house party you can help us keep track of who’s doing what, and when and
where it is happening. To register, send an email to ctwj@aiusa.org

» Utilize the sample agenda and discussion questions in this kit to help plan and organize
your House Party.

» Utilize the information and action items to engage and mobilize the people who attend the
House Party.

STEP 1: PLANNING YOUR PARTY


Get creative as possible when planning your House Party. It doesn’t even have to be in your house! Some
people have them in recreational centers, dorm rooms and even at their local worship centers. It can
be small and intimate, or large and full of new people. Whatever works for you, will work for your party!
But, make sure to post your event on our website. Here are some things to keep in mind though, when
thinking about what you want to accomplish:

» Inform: One purpose of the House Party is to inform your guests about the work of Amnesty
International, and more specifically the work to end human rights abuses in the “war on terror.”
Make sure that you are fully versed in the issues of the campaign, so that your attendees are
informed and prepared to act. This is why it is important to register your party with us, so that
we can supply you with all of the necessary information.

» Act: After watching the film and discussing its content, your guests will want to get involved. Have
actions available and letters to write for your guests. Let them know how they can get further in-
volved.

» Generate Membership: Explain Amnesty’s work and how their membership is critical in sus-
taining our human rights work over longer periods of time.

Amnesty International USA • www.amnestyusa.org/ctwj


HOUSE PARTY GUIDE
HOUSE PARTY STEP 2

STEP 2: INVITATIONS
Get your invitations out early! Today there are more ways of getting the word out than ever. Don’t depend
on one exclusively. And remember, people threw successful parties before e-mail existed!

» Set Goals. If your goal is to bring 20 people to your house party, then brainstorm a list of 60
people to invite. The rule of thumb is that 1 of 3 people will actually attend.

» Send an e-mail to all invitees. Make sure you mention why you are hosting a party, for ex-
ample, “we want to send a message to Congress to uphold the right of return.” Don’t forget to
include pertinent information: your address, phone number and e-mail address. Consider using
free programs, such as Evite (www.evite.com), which sends out invitations, then tracks responses
and sends out reminders automatically.

» Snail mail. Same rules apply. A personal invitation is still a very impressive way to get the word
out. They remain popular because they work.

» Phone calls. Call all the people you invite, get them to come, and remind them to be on time.
You should start calling 10 days before the house meeting even if invitations are still in the
mail.

» Reminder calls (a call back to all your “yesses”) make a big difference for turn-out. Make sure
to do them in the three evenings immediately preceding your house party.

» Keep good records. Who’s been called already, and who hasn’t been reached? Who’s a “yes”,
a “no”, a “maybe”? (Use your House Party Follow-up tracking sheet.)

» Post a flier. Low tech but effective. Tack them on your school bulletin board, your grocery stores
or local coffee shop’s community pin-up board, or tack it up to a telephone pole.

THE THREE KEYS TO A GREAT HOUSE PARTY:


1. Personal contact with your potential guests. Follow-up calls to the invitations and reminder calls
ensure great attendance.

2. Organizers’ rule of thumb: if you really want folks to turn out, invitees should be contacted 3
times! Invitation. Follow-up Phone Call. Reminder Phone Call

3. Show your enthusiasm! The best way to motivate your guests to attend your house party is to
demonstrate your own enthusiasm. Let your guests know every time you talk to them why you
care about ending torture and other human rights violations by the U.S. government in the “war
on terror.”

Amnesty International USA • www.amnestyusa.org/ctwj


HOUSE PARTY GUIDE
HOUSE PARTY STEPS 3 & 4

STEP 3: PROMOTING YOUR EVENT


House parties are a great way to bring new supporters to Amnesty International. You can invite friends,
neighbors and co-workers and all other who might not necessarily be involved in human rights issues
but may have an interest in the concern the party addresses. Of course, invite your own Amnesty Inter-
national colleagues, guests from other active AI groups in your area, and allied groups and organizations
that might be working on the same issues but from a different angle.

STEP 4: THE AGENDA


The basis of your party is to inform, act and generate membership. But, let’s not forget the details! A
good agenda will hold your party together. See the sample agenda below for ideas:

» Arrival of Guests (Approximate time: 30 minutes).


Guests arrive, mingle, look over literature and partake in refreshments. Have everyone sign in. Be
sure to get the names, email addresses and phone numbers for everyone that is attending.

» Introduction (Approximate time: 15-20 minutes)


Once everyone has arrived, introduce yourself, talk about the work of Amnesty International and
then introduce the issue. Spend some time explaining the big picture—that, while terrorism is
wrong, ending it does not justify torture and other violations of U.S. and international law by the
U.S. and other governments. Ask your guests what they know about the issue and how and why
they got involved. This is the perfect segue to starting the film.

» Watch the film (Approximate time: 106 minutes)


» Discussion (Approximate time: 30 minutes)
Discuss the film using the Discussion Questions available in this kit.

» Request for Action (Approximate time: 15 minutes)


Set goals for yourself: how many actions should result from your party? Set a goal and shoot for
it! Ask your guests to take action, explain the current actions you have for the night and how they
will impact the issue.

» The Pitch (Approximate time: 15 minutes)


Do your pitch and ask them to join and become members of Amnesty International.

» Wrap Up Session (Approximate time: 15 minutes)


Thank everyone for coming, and make sure to get contact information for those who want to
pursue more work on the issue.

Amnesty International USA • www.amnestyusa.org/ctwj


HOUSE PARTY GUIDE
HOUSE PARTY STEPS 5 & 6

STEP 5: READ YOUR AGENDA


The best way to have a party that flows seamlessly is to think through the agenda from start to finish
ahead of time. Your house party can range from a small intimate gathering of friends to a larger group
consisting of 20-30 friends and friends of friends—it depends on how ambitious you are. Be clear from
the beginning of the theme of your house party, such as educating people on human rights violations by
the U.S. government. Set goals for yourself such as getting 25 letters signed or soliciting 30 signatures
on the petition. This will help you keep on track.
Prepare for the post-viewing discussion beforehand by reading through the discussion questions and
fact sheets. You also may want to handout the questions and fact sheets to attendees as they arrive so
that they have a lens through which to view the film.

STEP 6: MAKE A CHECKLIST


» Sign In Sheet: This is important. Sign in everyone who attends your party by posting someone
at the door, or have members circulate the room. Don’t forget to call back any newcomers whose
names appear on the sheet.

» Pens and paper: Be sure you have enough, including paper for note taking.
» Stamps: Letters don’t go anywhere without postage!
» Nametags: Do you want them to help you identify guests? It’s up to you.
» Amnesty International literature: Have enough on hand, including membership brochures,
newsletters, handouts etc., maybe even an AI goody bag with buttons and stickers. Make
sure all your actions and handouts are displayed prominently. Contact your regional office at
1.866.A.REGION for materials.

» Equipment: Nothing is more embarrassing than having a house full of people and not being able
to get your DVD player to work. Make sure it is ready to roll, before guests arrive!

» Munchies: Can’t have a party without them. It doesn’t have to be a lot. This isn’t a State Din-
ner you’re hosting. But remember the rule of halves applies. If you invite 50, expect about 25 to
show up. Otherwise you’ll be eating Russian dressing chip dip for a month!

» Document the event. Assign someone to take pictures.

And Don’t Forget. If you are holding the party somewhere other than your home, in a church auditorium
for example, make sure to scout out the site in advance.

Amnesty International USA • www.amnestyusa.org/ctwj


HOUSE PARTY GUIDE
HOUSE PARTY STEPS 7 & 8

STEP 7: THE BIG NIGHT ARRIVES


Once people arrive, your main responsibility shifts to managing the evening. Make sure you have the
registration table set up. It’s important to try to stick to the time limits so that guests who can’t stay as
long still get to participate. Maybe you can keep a timer handy.
Don’t worry if this is your first party. You just need to play the film, get the discussion started, remind
people of the agenda if the discussion runs over, and summarize any decisions taken. And don’t forget
to pitch AI! Part of your presentation should include information on the various ways your guests can
become more involved with Amnesty International; by joining your group perhaps, maybe starting their
own group or by joining a network. Highlight the events section on AIUSA’s website as a resource to
find out about more interesting events, such as Regional Conferences or state meetings, or to contact
the Regional Office. Finally (and this is important) urge them to become individual card carrying, dues
paying members. Spell out the benefits.
You should assign someone from your group to handle general hosting duties such as keeping the
goodie bowls full and the drinks flowing, cleaning up mishaps or taking those photos so that you can
stay focused on running the meeting. But don’t worry! Your guests are all there because they want to
help make a difference, so they won’t care if you don’t get things perfect. It is a party, so have fun. And,
unlike some parties you’ve been to in the past, you won’t even have to worry about making small talk!

STEP 8: AFTER THE PARTY


You know what a house can look like after a party. Make sure a few folks from your own group stick
around to help with the cleanup. But there is more to do than just pick the pretzels out of that thousand-
dollar carpet.

» Get Back to Us. Contact your Regional Office and let them know how things went.
» Thank yous. Don’t forget your just departed guests. A quick follow-up thank you note is always
appreciated. Then send them a follow-up action within a week or two. And don’t forget to include
information on how they can get more involved with AI by joining a group, and or a network and
by becoming individual dues paying members.

» Start planning your next event! So there you have it. It wasn’t that daunting after all was it? It
was even fun and it was all for a “good cause”—your cause, human rights.

Now get going!

Amnesty International USA • www.amnestyusa.org/ctwj


HOUSE PARTY GUIDE
FOR DISCUSSION
1. How did this film make you feel?
2. What scenes stood out for you? Why?
3. Do you think what happened to Dilawar has happened to other people?
4. What do you think about torture?
5. “The likelihood of that [the “ticking time-bomb” scenario] ever happening is so re-
mote … even if you’re in that situation, who’s to say that if you beat him up that
you’re gonna get that information?” —Jack Cloonan, FBI Special Agent 1977-2002,
Counterterrorism Task Force.
6. How has the “ticking time-bomb” scenario influenced public discourse on torture?
7. A variety of military and intelligence experts say torture is immoral, illegal and
ineffective. Why, then, do you think it is still used?
8. Does interrogation play a legitimate role in intelligence collection in support of the
“war on terror”?
9. How do you think the US Government framing counter-terrorism as a “war” influences
interrogation and detention policies?
10. The Military Police assigned to Bagram Airbase and Abu Ghraib were reserve soldiers
with little to no training in theater prisoner of war detention operations. Do you think
poorly trained soldiers are more or less likely to engage in torture? Why?
11. How important are clearly defined interrogation practices for soldiers experiencing the
uncertainties of the “fog of war,” and who are frequently exposed to extreme violence?
12. What is significant about the relationship between the tactics used in Bagram, Abu
Ghraib and Guantánamo?
13. What is habeas corpus and why is it important? How does it relate to the “rule of law?”
14. Who has been held accountable for torture? Who should be held accountable?
15. Has the movie shaped your views on interrogation tactics, if so how?

Amnesty International USA • www.amnestyusa.org/ctwj


HOUSE PARTY GUIDE
FACT SHEET
105: Deaths, of people detained by the U.S.
37: Number of the above deaths that have been
officially declared homicides by the Army

122: Number of pounds Dilawar weighed when he died


“MORE THAN 3,000 suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries.
Many others have met a different fate. Let’s put it this way: they’re no longer a prob-
lem to the United States and our friends and allies.” —President George W. Bush

8%: Number of detainees in U.S. custody accused of being al Qaeda,


according to studies of U.S. government documents.

7%: Number of Guantánamo detainees captured by U.S. and coalition


forces, according to an analysis of declassified government documents

93%: Number of detainees turned over to the U.S. by Afghan warlords


and Pakistanis, sometimes for cash payments of thousands of dollars,
according to an analysis of declassified government documents

2.5: Number of years that lawyers fought for the right


to just go see the prisoners at Guantánamo

4: Number of suicides at Guantánamo


0: Number of officers convicted in connection with Dilawar’s homicide
OVER 83,000: Number of people detained by the U.S. as of September 11, 2006
1: Number of military commissions completed for terrorism suspects.

Amnesty International USA • www.amnestyusa.org/ctwj


HOUSE PARTY GUIDE
BACKGROUND Q&A
WHAT IS TORTURE?
Torture is defined by the United Nations Convention Against Torture as “… the intentional infliction of
severe physical or mental pain or suffering for purposes such as obtaining information or a confession,
or punishing, intimidating or coercing someone.” Many detainees allege they were tortured while in U.S.
custody. Several years after photos of torture at Abu Ghraib were released, no high-level military or civil-
ian leaders have been held accountable for policies or practices that led to abuse of detainees.

IS TORTURE EVER JUSTIFIED?


No. Torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment are illegal under U.S. and international law:

» The United States Bill of Rights (1789) Amendment 8: “… nor (shall) cruel or unusual punish-
ment be inflicted.”

» U.N. Convention Against Torture (1984): “No state may permit or tolerate torture … Exceptional
circumstances such as a state of war … or any other public emergency may not be invoked as a
justification of torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.”

» Geneva Conventions (1949) Article 99, Third Convention: “no moral or physical coercion may be
exerted on a prisoner of war in order to admit himself guilty of the act of which he is accused.”

Furthermore, the prohibition of torture has a special status in international law, in that it is a key compo-
nent of customary international law. Elements of customary international law are binding on all states that
have not explicitly rejected them, whether or not they have ratified any of the relevant international trea-
ties. More importantly, the prohibition on torture is also a “peremptory norm,” which means that it cannot be
overruled by any other law or local custom. This means that even if countries do not ascribe to the prohibition
against torture under customary international law, they are still prohibited from exercising torture.

WHAT ABOUT THE “TICKING TIME-BOMB” SCENARIO?


The “ticking time-bomb” scenario asks us to imagine that a bomb is about to go off and that a person
in custody knows where it is. Some claim torture would be justified in this circumstance. Jack Cloonan,
a former FBI special agent (1977 – 2002) had this to say about the scenario:
“I have been hard pressed to find a situation where anybody can tell me that they’ve ever encountered
the ticking-bomb scenario ... a show like 24 … makes all of us believe that this is real—it’s not. Throw
that stuff out, it doesn’t happen.” (Source: www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=4193)

Amnesty International USA • www.amnestyusa.org/ctwj


HOUSE PARTY GUIDE
BACKGROUND Q&A (CONTINUED)

WHAT IS EXTRAORDINARY RENDITION?


Extraordinary Rendition is a practice whereby prisoners captured or detained by the U.S. government
are transferred for interrogation or detention to countries known to use torture. The aim is to use what-
ever means necessary to gather intelligence, and to keep detainees away from any judicial oversight.
This system puts the victim beyond the protection of the law and sets the perpetrator above the law.

WHAT IS GUANTÁNAMO?
“Guantánamo” refers to the detention facilities located within the U.S. Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay,
Cuba. By opening detention facilities at Guantánamo, the Bush administration sought to send detainees
to a place where they believed neither U.S. nor international law applied. This concept is an affront to
human rights and the rule of law—no one can be held outside of the law.
Despite international outrage and the U.S. authorities’ own stated wish to close the camp, Guantánamo
is still holding detainees illegally, without charge and with little hope of a fair trial. Hundreds languish in
cruel, inhuman, and degrading conditions—including detainees who have been cleared for release.
Guantánamo is only one part of a wider detention regime removed from the protection of U.S. and
international law. Hundreds of detainees, for example, remain in indefinite detention without charge or
trial at the U.S. airbase at Bagram in Afghanistan, without access to lawyers or the courts.
Over the years, at Guantánamo, Bagram, other U.S. facilities, and at secret CIA sites detainees have
been subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. Even after the administra-
tion said it wanted to close Guantánamo, detainees continued to be transferred there from secret CIA
custody and elsewhere, confirming the camp’s role at the heart of the U.S. network of illegal detention.
Guantánamo is a global symbol of injustice and abuse. It must be closed.

IF GUANTÁNAMO IS CLOSED, WHAT HAPPENS TO THE PEOPLE


HELD THERE?
Amnesty International is calling on U.S. authorities to either charge Guantánamo detainees with recog-
nizably criminal offenses and provide them with a fair trial before an independent and impartial tribu-
nal, such as a U.S. federal court, or release them immediately and unconditionally.

Amnesty International USA • www.amnestyusa.org/ctwj


HOUSE PARTY GUIDE
BACKGROUND Q&A (CONTINUED)

WHAT IS HABEAS CORPUS?


In the original Latin, habeas corpus literally means “holding the body.” People detained by the United
States, whether inside or outside of U.S. territory, are usually permitted to file a petition for a writ of ha-
beas corpus with a court. The writ of habeas corpus is essentially a legal challenge to the government’s
ability to detain the individual. The right to seek a writ of habeas corpus is considered an integral feature
of democratic and constitutional governance and of international human rights law. Historically, this
right to seek judicial review of detention can be traced to the Magna Carta of 1215 and the more recent
Habeas Corpus Act of 1689. The Founders of the United States considered habeas corpus so important
that they enshrined it in the Constitution itself, rather than in the Bill of Rights, which was not passed
until more than four years later.
On June 12, 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court in Boumediene v. Bush squarely affirmed that foreign
nationals held at Guantánamo Bay are entitled, under the U.S. Constitution, to habeas corpus. The
Court resoundingly rejected the arguments put forth by the U.S. administration that these men, as non-
U.S. nationals held outside the sovereign territory of the United States, are beyond the reach of this
fundamental legal protection.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT to focus on cases like Dilawar’s that happened several


years ago, especially considering that those responsible for creating the policies that
led to the abusive treatment he suffered will soon leave office?
Accountability for past abuses is important so that the U.S. public and the rest of the world can have
confidence that the same abuses will not happen again. If we don’t know about cases like Dilawar’s, we
won’t understand how and where things went wrong. We can’t assume that a Presidential transition will,
by itself, solve all the problems that led to Dilawar’s death.
Regardless of who is President, Congress also has a responsibility to bring U.S. law in line with the
requirements of international law. And we as U.S. citizens have an obligation to be vigilant and make
sure policies are established and enforced that will prevent these abuses in the future. In short, learning
about cases like Dilawar’s and how they happened is essential to any effort to put in place policies and
procedures that will prevent torture in the future.

Amnesty International USA • www.amnestyusa.org/ctwj


HOUSE PARTY GUIDE
TAKE ACTION!
The film Taxi to the Dark Side illustrates the plight of an Afghani man named Dilawar, who was wrongly
swept up in the U.S. government’s program of torture and illegal detention—and paid for it with his life.
Torture, ill-treatment and illegal detention at Guantánamo, Bagram and other U.S. facilities are immoral
and illegal. Military and intelligence experts have said these practices are ineffective.
The “war on terror” does not justify the U.S. government’s violations of U.S. and international law.
Amnesty International calls on the U.S. government to end these human rights violations immediately and
hold accountable all those who authorized and implemented them. All detainees in U.S. custody must be
charged and given fair trials, or released.
The U.S. government must respect and protect human rights. It’s up to people like us—people around
the world who want justice, security, and human rights—to make sure it happens. Take action now! If we
each do a small part, our collective impact can influence the U.S. government to change course.

LEVEL 1 TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES:


» Go to www.tearitdown.org and sign Amnesty International’s global petition to close Guantánamo and
end illegal U.S. detentions. Be sure to share the site with your friends.

» Sign the petition for Mohammed Hassan Odaini and other Yemeni nationals who have been cleared
for release from Guantánamo but are still illegally detained there. Use the attached petition.

LEVEL 2 TAKES ABOUT 30 MINUTES TO 1 HOUR:


» Write letters on behalf of Maher al-Quwari, a stateless Palestinian cleared for release from
Guantánamo but who has nowhere to go. Use the attached case sheet. Go to www.amnestyusa.org/
ctwj to take action on other cases.

LEVEL 3 TAKES ABOUT 2 HOURS OR MORE:


» Hold your own Taxi to the Dark Side House Party.
Visit www.amnestyusa.org/ctwj to download the guide and register.

Amnesty International USA • www.amnestyusa.org/ctwj


HOUSE PARTY GUIDE
CLEARED FOR RELEASE BUT STILL DETAINED:
THE CASE OF MOHAMMED MOHAMMED HASSAN ODAINI
Commander, Joint Task Force Guantánamo
Department of Defense
Joint Task Force Guantánamo
Guantánamo Bay
CUBA, APO AE 09360

Dear Rear Admiral Thomas:


We wish to express our deep concern that Mohammed Mohammed Hassan Odaini and other Yemeni nation-
als are still detained without charge or trial in Guantánamo despite their clearance for release or transfer.
Mr. Odaini, (known to U.S. officials as Mohammed Mohammed Hassan, ISN-681) was detained in March
2002 when Pakistani police raided a house in which he was having dinner with 14 other Yemeni nationals.
All were handed over to U.S. authorities and later transferred to the detention facilities in Guantánamo Bay,
Cuba.
In June 2005, U.S authorities deemed Mohammed Mohammed Hassan Odaini suitable for release from
Guantánamo, and he was cleared to be transferred in June 2006. Yemeni authorities have stated that they
are prepared to take him back, yet he continues to be detained. He has not been interrogated for nearly two
years, and the reason for his continued detention is unclear.
We respectfully urge you to bring about the release of Mohammed Mohammed Hassan Odaini and other
Yemeni detainees unless they are charged and tried in accordance with international standards of fairness.
We thank you for your consideration of this matter.

YOUR SIGNATURE PRINTED NAME CITY, STATE

Amnesty International USA • www.amnestyusa.org/ctwj


HOUSE PARTY GUIDE
Maher
al-Quwari
BACKGROUND

In February 2007, Maher Rafat al-Quwari’s lawyers learned that he has been declared eligible for
release from Guantánamo, but he remains detained as he has no residency papers and no country to
return to. His lawyers are seeking residency for him in a safe third country.
Maher al-Quwari was born in Gaza, in the Palestinian territories in 1965. He moved to Jordan where
he met and married his wife with whom he has two sons, but he does not have official status in any
country. He does not have a passport, any form of travel document or any identification papers.
In 2001 he says that he decided to travel to Pakistan to obtain identification papers from the U.N.
office in Quetta. He was in Afghanistan when U.S. forces attacked. He fled fearing for his safety, but
was captured by villagers and sold to the Northern Alliance, who handed him over to U.S. forces 40
days later.
BACKGROUND (CONTINUED)
Maher al-Quwari was held in Bagram and Kandahar in Afghanistan before being transferred to Guantánamo in
July 2002. He has alleged he was tortured and ill-treated during his time in U.S. detention, including:
• Beatings
• Strangulation, almost to the point of death
• Sleep deprivation and sensory deprivation
• Being shackled in a squatting position for hours, with cold water thrown over him
Maher al-Quwari has been held in Camp 6 at Guantánamo, one of the harshest of the detention facilities where
detainees are held in conditions of extreme isolation and sensory deprivation
Maher al-Quwari has been declared eligible for release, but he remains detained.

TAKE ACTION FOR


OVERVIEW MAHER AL-QUWARI
Over 750 men from more than 40 countries have been held Write to the U.S. authorities:
in the U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay since the • Noting that Maher Rafat al-Quwari has been cleared for
first transfer of detainees in January 2002. By choosing Guan- transfer from Guantánamo for the past year, indicating that
tánamo, the Bush administration sought to send detainees to the U.S. authorities do not intend to charge or try him
a place where they believed neither U.S. nor international law • Calling on U.S. authorities to actively and urgently facilitate
applied. This concept is an affront to human rights and the the search for a durable solution for Maher Rafat al-Quwari
rule of law—no one can be held outside of the law. in a third country, taking into account his individual views
and preferences
Despite international outrage and the U.S. authorities’ own • Appealing for Maher Rafat al-Quwari’s family to be kept
stated wish to close the camp, Guantánamo is still holding de- fully informed of his status, health and well-being
tainees illegally, without charge and with little hope of a fair • Urging U.S. authorities to investigate all allegations that
trial. Detainees languish in cruel, inhuman, and degrading con- Maher Rafat al-Quwari was tortured or ill-treated in U.S.
ditions—including detainees who have been cleared for release. custody, make the findings public, and ensure anyone re-
sponsible for such treatment is brought to justice
Guantánamo is only one part of a wider detention regime re- • Calling on the U.S. authorities to close the detention facil-
moved from the protection of U.S. and international law. Hun- ity at Guantánamo and charge detainees and give them fair
dreds of detainees, for example, remain in indefinite deten- trials or release them
tion without charge or trial at the U.S. air base at Bagram, WRITE TO:
in Afghanistan, without access to lawyers or the courts. Over JOHN B. BELLINGER III COMMANDER JOINT TASK
the years, at Guantánamo, Bagram, other U.S. facilities, and STATE DEPARTMENT FORCE GUANTÁNAMO
LEGAL ADVISOR DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
secret CIA sites, detainees have been subjected to torture and OFFICE OF THE JOINT TASK FORCE
other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. LEGAL ADVISOR GUANTÁNAMO
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE GUANTÁNAMO BAY, CUBA
Guantánamo is a global symbol of injustice and abuse. It must 2201 C STREET NW APO AE 09360
be closed. Amnesty International is calling on U.S. authorities WASHINGTON, DC 20520 Fax: 305.437.1241
Salutation: Dear Sir Salutation: Dear Sir
to charge Guantánamo detainees with recognizably criminal of-
fenses and provide them with a fair trial before an independent
and impartial tribunal, such as a U.S. federal court, or release
them immediately and unconditionally. Those released must
not be returned to a country where they would face further hu-
man rights violations.
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL USA · amnestyusa.org/ctwj
600 Pennsylvania Ave SE, 5th Fl · Washington, DC 20003
Map © CIA World Factbook. Photo: © U.S. DoD T 202.544.0200 · F 202.546.7142
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