Monday, February 20, 2006

Archbishop John Sentamu - Oi! Guantanamo, No!

Or words to that effect. Archbishop of York John Sentamu has added his voice to the growing number which are speaking out against the disgrace which is Guantanamo Bay. He was on the front page of the Independent on Saturday, suggesting that the UNHRC should seek a writ of habeas corpus, compelling the US to bring those being detained at Guantanamo to court, to establish whether they are imprisoned lawfully and if they should be released.

He said "The American government is breaking international law. The main building block of a democratic society is that everyone is equal before the law, innocent until proved otherwise, and has the right to legal representation. If the guilt of the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay is beyond doubt, why are the Americans afraid to bring them to trial? Transparency and accountability are the other side of the coin of freedom and responsibility. We are all accountable for our actions in spite of circumstances. The events of 9/11 cannot erase the rule of law and international obligations.

The US should try all 500 detainees at Guantanamo, who still include eight British residents, or free them without further delay. To hold someone for up to four years without charge clearly indicates a society that is heading towards George Orwell's Animal Farm.

Wow! No mincing of words there. The more I hear of Archbishop Sentamu, the more I like him. His inaugural sermon was awesome, and it seems to be quoted every week at church. Great stuff.


Anonymous said...

Good to hear such high profile 'voices' joining in the condemnation!

He is speaking at the up and coming Fulcrum conference. I'm thinking of going - any one else interested in coming?


Jon said...

The Fulcrum conference sounds very tempting.
I'll let you know if I decide to book.


rach said...

I don't know what the theology might be behind having favourite bishops but John Sentamu is very definitely mine. I was in Stepney when he was bishop there and he's an amazing guy. When you meet him you can see undeniably that he's got the fire of God in him. And I love his boldness - he never seems afraid to mince his words.