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Cablegate: Gitmo Detainee Relatives, Activists Protest

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKH #1308/01 2330720
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 210720Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8257

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001308

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
DEPT FOR AF/SPG, AF/EPS, AF/PD
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR, AND ALSO PASS USAID

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR PHUM KPAO PINS PTER SU
SUBJECT: GITMO DETAINEE RELATIVES, ACTIVISTS PROTEST

REF: KHARTOUM 1298

1. (U) SUMMARY: About 25 demonstrators gathered outside the U.S.
Embassy in Khartoum on August 19 to protest the continued detention
of nine Sudanese citizens held in Guantanamo Bay. The demonstration
included six relatives of the detainees who carried photographs of
their family members. Approximately a dozen riot police encircled
the demonstration, which remained peaceful and ended after 30
minutes. Sudanese and international journalists covered the event.
END SUMMARY.

2. (U) At approximately 11:30 a.m. on August 19, about 25
individuals, many carrying photographs and signs in support of the
nine Sudanese being detained at Guantanamo Bay, demonstrated in
front of the Embassy's main gate. The protest was organized by
family members of the detainees. Although the protest was peaceful,
police in riot gear encircled the protestors as a precaution.
(NOTE: There have been additional police deployed in the vicinity of
the Embassy in recent days in response to a terror threat aimed at
Western interests (reftel). END NOTE.) Six family members of the
detainees were present and carried photos of their relatives. PAO
stepped out onto the street where the protest was taking place and
listened as protest organizers read English and Arabic communiqus.
Organizers also provided PAO with what they said were signed
petitions (English text attached paragraph 5) from Guantanamo Bay
detainees' relatives and some 5,000 supporters. PAO accepted the
documents and responded by saying that the protestors' message would
be conveyed to Washington. The Embassy will forward these documents
to Washington via pouch.

3. (U) There was Sudanese and international press coverage of the
event on Aug. 19 and 20. Both Sudan TV and Al-Jazeera, as well as
Reuters, were present at the demonstration. The independent
"Al-Ayaam" carried the story on its front page with a photo and the
accompanying headline, "Khartoum demonstrates for the release of the
Guantanamo detainees." The article stated that the detainees have
been in Guantanamo Bay for more than five years and that the
Sudanese government "announces from time to time that the detainees
will be released, without designating a definite time." According
to the article, this situation forced the families of the detainees
to organize the protest.

4. (U) The "Al-Ayaam" article also repeated that Minister of
Justice Muhammad Ali Mardi announced that the U.S. authorities would
release Al-Jazeera TV cameraman, Sami Al-Haj, in the next two to
three weeks. This report follows Mardi's appearance on Al-Jazeera
on August 18 where he made similar comments. Last week, the
Sudanese press also reported that a senior-level delegation from the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs led by State Minister Al-Samani
El-Wasila was invited by the U.S. to visit Washington before the end
of this month to discuss the release of Al-Haj. [COMMENT: The
Sudanese expectations for Al-Samani's scheduled trip to Washington
appear to be very high, even if the release of Al-Haj is not up for
discussion. END COMMENT.]

5. (U) BEGIN TEXT:

"Civic Aid International Organization

Important Notice

The participants of this demonstration are composed of the Civic Aid
International Organization members and the representatives from the
families of the nine Sudanese detainees in Guantanamo who want to
present their earnest request to the administration of the United
States of America.

Their request entails the immediate release of the detainees or
their immediate free and fair trial that can unveil all the
accusations that you have against them, if there is (sic) any.

Our Organization backs the request of these families and five
thousand Sudanese signatures that hopes from the Foreign Ministry of
the United States to open up a wide range of diplomatic talks with
the Sudan government in order to determined (sic) this issue
completely as what had happened to the other similar Arab countries
before.

Due to the pathetic situation that the families of these detainees
lives (sic) for more than five years, the participants of this
demonstration here by anticipates, these families will be able to
contact with their detainees sons, brother, and fathers as well as
enabling the detainees to enjoy their basic legal and judicial
rights that are mentioned in the international humanitarian law and
human rights.

At the same time, our organization would like to draw the attention
of the United States Administration that a group of American
advocates who represent the Sudanese detainees in Guantanamo and
other advocates who volunteered themselves visited recently to
Khartoum and went back with them the enough (sic) legal evidences
and the political will of the Sudan government that affirms the
possibility of those detainees to come back to their mother country
while enjoying all their basic rights and freedoms as per stated in
the constitution." END TEXT.

POWERS

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