ACLU Hosts "Road to Guantánamo" Screening and Discussion with Filmmaker
Former Detainees Will Speak With Audience Via Video
NEW YORK -- The American Civil Liberties Union tonight will host an advance screening of Michael Winterbottom's critically acclaimed "Road to Guantánamo" at the IFC Center in downtown Manhattan. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with the film's director, ACLU Executive Director, human rights experts and three innocent men who were wrongly detained at Guantánamo.
"American values are about justice and democracy, not keeping people in detention camps for years without any charges against them, or any legal process for determining their future," said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. "The injustices so powerfully portrayed in 'The Road to Guantánamo' help put a human face to the lawlessness and abuse of power that are rampant in our detention centers. We hope this film will stir the American public to call for an end to the torture and abuse of detainees and restore faith in America's commitment to human rights."
"The Road to Guantánamo" tells the story of three British citizens who were held for more than two years without charges at the Guantánamo detention center. The three men, Rhuhel Ahmed, 22, Asif Iqbal, 22, and Shafiq Rasul, 26, set off from Tipton, England on a journey to Pakistan for Iqbal's wedding shortly after September 11, 2001. They were captured by the Northern Alliance during a stop in Afghanistan and turned over to American forces. Part documentary, part dramatization, "The Road to Guantánamo" chronicles the abuse and mistreatment the men experienced while in U.S. custody. The men, known as the "Tipton Three," were eventually released with no formal charges ever made against them at any time during their ordeal.
The ACLU is screening the film at 7:00 p.m. tonight for an invited audience of leaders in politics, law, academia, media and entertainment. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion and Q&A on the film and the issues of torture and detention it addresses with director Michael Winterbottom, ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero, Steven Watt of the ACLU, Gitanjali Gutierrez of the Center for Constitutional Rights and the "Tipton Three," who will appear via live interactive video.
The post-screening panel is presented through IFC Center's iQ&A program, a series of discussions that brings international filmmakers and New York audiences together through the Internet and Apple iChat AV videoconferencing software. Roadside Attractions will release the film in select U.S. cities on June 23 and roll it out nationally over the summer.
The ACLU screening comes as the Supreme Court is poised to rule in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, which challenges the legality of military commissions established by President Bush to try detainees. The commissions have been challenged as inconsistent with the Geneva Conventions and unauthorized by Congress. The ACLU filed a legal brief with the Court arguing that the commission rules do not guarantee an independent trial court, do not provide for impartial appellate review and do not prohibit the use of coerced testimony despite extensive evidence that coercive interrogation techniques have been used at Guantánamo Bay and elsewhere.
For more information on the film, go to www.aclu.org/roadtoguantanamo