AMNESTY International members from all across Yorkshire were joining forces this weekend to call for the closure of Guantanamo Bay military prison.
Sixty people dressed in bright orange boiler suits, the style worn by the camp’s prisoners, were holding a silent vigil in York today outside St Michael-le-Belfrey church next to York Minster.
They were handing out information about the US prison camp, based in Cuba, and asking locals to sign a petition which will be sent to the White House.
Detainees have been held at the camp for more than five years without being charged with a crime.
They include former Huddersfield student Omar Deghayes, who has been incarcerated there since his arrest in Pakistan in 2002.
The 37-year-old studied law at Huddersfield University in 1998, before going to live in Brighton.
He fled to the UK from Libya 20 years ago.
He is accused of committing terrorist acts against the USA, but campaigners on his behalf say it is a case of mistaken identity.
Dan Smith, membership secretary of Amnesty International York Group and former Huddersfield resident, said he hoped the weekend’s protest would help raise awareness of the plight of the prisoners and encourage people to help them get it closed.
He said: “I hope it will have an impact on people – I imagine if the Minster serves as the backdrop to a large group of people dressed in boiler suits, it will provide a memorable visual image.
“It’s important to remind people that there are still UK residents being kept prisoners there – we’ve got to keep it in peoples’ minds that it’s still happening.
“If these prisoners are guilty of offences they should be tried in a proper court of law, if not, then you can’t hold people for crimes because they might have done something.
“We want to see the camp shut down and the prisoners released if there’s no evidence, or given a proper fair trial.”