Bishop calls on church to speak for Guantanamo detainees
The Bishop of Shrewsbury has called on churchgoers to speak up for the detainees being held in Guantanamo Bay.
Writing in the August edition of LINK - an insert produced for parish magazines in the Diocese of Lichfield - the Rt Revd Alan Smith said that Christians had a "prime religious obligation" to "speak up for the voiceless, to protect the innocent and to help the weak".
He said: "The United States government deliberately chose to place the camp outside of any legal jurisdiction. The prisoners are being help without legal representation, without any way of appealing and they are now facing a secret military tribunal, which, if they are found guilty, has the power to sentence them to death."
Two of the Britons being held in Guantanamo - 24-year-old Shafiq Rasul; and 20-year-old Asif Iqba - are from Tipton in the Black Country, which is located in the southern end of the Diocese of Lichfield.
Bishop Alan said: "I have no view as to whether either of these young men had connection with al Qaida or had been involved in terrorism. However, I am absolutely sure that secret trials can do nothing to serve the cause of justice, nor rebuild trust between East and West."
Bishop Alan added: "During the latter half of the twentieth century, following wars in which millions of people died, the world grappled with how to deal with conflicts between nations and genocide within them. Both the United Nations and the European Court of Human Rights in The Hague emerged in response to such tragedies and it is either these, or similar international organisations, which offer us the best way ahead."