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Clare - Event Notice
Thursday January 01 1970

Vigil to highlight Shannon involvement in renditions and war

category clare | rights, freedoms and repression | event notice author Tuesday May 06, 2008 14:50author by John Lannon

The monthly vigil to protest against Shannon airport's role in renditions and war will take place on Sunday 11th May from 5 to 6pm. Meet at the small roundabout before the entrance to the airport

The European Parliament has implicated Ireland in the practice of rendition. Rather than take measures to identify past violations of Irish territory, or prevent future violations, the Irish Government has simply denied any possibility that Irish airports or airspace could have been used by US rendition flights. It has continued to insist that it may legitimately rely on US “assurances” that Ireland has not and will not be used for rendition purposes. Such assurances are meaningless and are no substitute for effective preventative measures.

This month the reality of the international networks of torture that are being facilitated by Shannon will be brought home to us by the attendance at the vigil of former Guantánamo detainee, Murat Kurnaz. He spent almost five years as a prisoner in the so-called ‘war on terror’, first in Kandahar in Afghanistan and then for over four and a half years in Guantánamo Bay before being released.

Guantanamo, torture, renditions and illegal detention sites are part of the gross disregard for international law and human dignity that the United States government has displayed since 11 September 2001. Murat Kurnaz will attend the vigil at Shannon airport 11 May to highlight not only his own experience but to stand in solidarity with those that condemn the illegal practice of rendition (abduction) and Ireland's involvement in it.

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author by Reporterpublication date Thu May 15, 2008 11:32author address author phone

Thanks to all who attended one or both of the Murat Kurnaz events at the weekend. It was disturbing to hear first hand reports of the systematic torture inflicted by the US in Kandahar and at Guantanamo, yet it was inspiring to meet a man whose spirit and humour survived 5 years of this treatment.

A special word of thanks is due to the Quakers who hosted the talk by Murat on Saturday evening. It was attended by about 60 people; these included Amnesty members, peace activists, Quaker members and a large number of others who came to hear Murat speak. After the public Q&A there was plenty of opportunity for people to ask further questions and to chat with him over a cup of tea. There was of course huge demand for copies of his book; unfortunately he only had 6 with him so we will ask the bookshops in Limerick to stock it. Many of you asked about getting a copy; I will ask O'Mahonys bookshop to stock it, and will let you know when they have it in.

On Sunday he joined our regular monthly vigil at Shannon. The vigil was a peaceful gathering of around 25 people, meeting outside the airport as usual, and surrounded by uniformed and plain clothes members of the Garda Siochana. Ironically this may have been Murat's second time in Shannon - he knows the plane that brought him to Guantanamo stopped once en route but of course he has not idea where. In other words, we may have aided and abetted in his illegal detention and torture.

As we gathered in Shannon, 2 jets sat on the tarmac inside the airport. These bore many of the hallmarks of the rendition planes that have passed through over the years; without ongoing searches of these aircraft we have no way of knowing if the airport is still playing a part in international torture.

Hopefully I will get a chance to upload a report and some photos to Indymedia later in the week. Meanwhile lets continue to work on the campaign to close Guantanamo and to stop the illigitimate use of our local airport by the US CIA/military.

Finally here is a link to a "60 minutes" interview with Murat which is worth watching:

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