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“A Legal Black Hole”: Jeremy Corbyn Calls for Closing of Guantánamo, Hails Release of Shaker Aamer

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In his first U.S. TV/radio interview since being elected the U.K. Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn calls for the closure of Guantánamo Bay. “What on Earth are we doing in this world, where we lock people up for now 14 years in Guantánamo Bay, with no charge, no trial, no process, no habeas corpus? A legal black hole,” Corbyn says. “It has got to be closed.” He recently welcomed Shaker Aamer, the last British resident to be released from Guantánamo, to the British Parliament.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Your thoughts on Guantánamo? President Obama said—it was one of his first acts after he became president, was to issue an executive order saying he would close Guantánamo. It’s been almost seven years, and the prison remains open.

JEREMY CORBYN: I was very pleased when President Obama issued that order, because it was the fulfillment of a campaign pledge that he made. And I have worked with people who have been campaigning to close down Guantánamo Bay and get prisoners released from there. We did get the British nationals who were held there released, after some pressure. We then had a much longer campaign over Shaker Aamer, who is a British resident. He’s not a British national; he’s a Saudi national, but his family are British nationals. I mean, they all live in London. And I’ve got to know his family. We’ve been campaigning for his release, and I went to Washington in May with an all-party delegation of Conservative and Labour MPs to lobby for the release of Shaker Aamer and the closure of Guantánamo Bay. Whether it had any effect on Obama’s decision, I don’t know. We all do what we have to do.

And there was a sense of extraordinary fulfillment when Shaker Aamer came into Parliament two weeks ago. And I met him in a special room we have for the Shadow Cabinet, with all the sort of very English oak paneling all around. And Shaker Aamer was there with friends celebrating his release, and a great moment. But what on Earth are we doing in this world, where we lock people up for now 14 years in Guantánamo Bay, with no charge, no trial, no process, no habeas corpus? A legal black hole, of the equivalent there is in outer space, where we don’t know what goes on there. It’s simply wrong. It has got to be closed. You cannot put people in prison for that length of time, treat them in that way, and call it justice and say we’re in favor of a world based on rules and laws. You can’t do it. They’ve got to—it’s got to be closed.

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