Friday, October 23, 2009

“Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” - documentary film launched in London, UK


directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington , and inspired by Andy’s book, The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of 774 Detainees in America's Illegal Prison, it was launched on October 21, 2009 in London, UK.(photos from the launch of "Outside the Law: Stories from Guantanamo)

The film tells the story of Guantánamo (and includes sections on extraordinary rendition and secret prisons) with a particular focus on how the Bush administration turned its back on domestic and international laws, how prisoners were rounded up in Afghanistan and Pakistan without adequate screening (and often for bounty payments), and why some of these men may have been in Afghanistan or Pakistan for reasons unconnected with militancy or terrorism (as missionaries or humanitarian aid workers, for example).

The film is based around interviews with former prisoners (Moazzam Begg and, in his first major interview, Omar Deghayes, who was released in December 2007), lawyers for the prisoners (Clive Stafford Smith in the UK and Tom Wilner in the US), and journalist and author Andy Worthington, and also includes appearances from Guantánamo’s former Muslim chaplain James Yee, Shakeel Begg, a London-based Imam, and the British human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce.

Focusing on the stories of three particular prisoners — Shaker Aamer (who is still held), Binyam Mohamed (who was released in February 2009) and Omar Deghayes — “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” provides a powerful rebuke to those who believe that Guantánamo holds “the worst of the worst” and that the Bush administration was justified in responding to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 by holding men neither as prisoners of war, protected by the Geneva Conventions, nor as criminal suspects with habeas corpus rights, but as “illegal enemy combatants” with no rights whatsoever.

For further information, interviews, or to inquire about broadcasting, distributing or showing “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo,” please contact Andy Worthington( or Polly Nash(

“Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” is a Spectacle Production (74 minutes, 2009).

Andy Worthington is a journalist, and the author of three books, including The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (Pluto Press). Visit his website here.

Polly Nash is a lecturer at the London College Of Communication (LCC), part of the University of the Arts, London, and has worked in film and TV for 20 years. Core funding for the film was provided by LCC.

Review at The Osterley Times :

"The film was intense and powerful, mostly because it did not attempt in any way to emotionalise the story it was laying out before us. [Andy] Worthington, Clive Stafford Smith and others simply told the story of how the US abandoned habeas corpus and found itself in a kind of war with its own legal system, whilst [Moazzam] Begg and [Omar] Deghayes told the tale of what it was like to be on the receiving end of this historic aberration of justice."

"The film was brilliantly powerful — both understated and shocking. All night I have had the images in my head and thoughts of these men who, even when released, can’t contact their families. I hate to admit I had no idea about extraordinary rendition — you have lifted the lid on a world that far too many people, like myself, find too easy to avoid."

"I have just returned from a rather extraordinary evening. I attended the film premiere of Andy Worthington and Polly Nash’s film “Outside the Law” — a feature length documentary about Guantánamo. I urge you all to see it. Please do and then when you have seen it pass it on to your friends and family. I have not seen anything at all that compares to understanding the magnitude of what has been happening in Guantánamo and Bagram. After seeing this film and then staying for the Q&A, which featured the film makers, as well as former detainees Omar Deghayes and Moazzam Begg, I was moved, inspired and angered beyond any other event I have been to. People left the venue with changed opinions, far better informed and shocked. Once again please do try and get to a screening."

For more information : Andy Worthington Website at: