Plenary speech on Guantánamo bay

On Thursday 18 April the European Parliament debated the situation in the Guantanamo bay prison, particulary the recent hunger strike of several detainees. The EPP and S&D political groups decided to postpone a vote on a negotiated Parliamentary resolution, inter alia calling on the US Governement to immediately close the prison. Marietje Schaake's speech during the debate: Marietje Schaake, author − Mr President, like the United States, Europe has seen its share of terrorism, and we continue to fight it to this day. However, in the same way that we seek to defend our open societies against attacks from the outside, we must defend them against erosion from within. Security and freedom are not a zero-sum game. The America we value as a partner – as an ally – betrays its Constitution by compromising basic principles, such as the presumption of innocence, and human rights in general. Human rights also apply to suspects or to those convicted of the worst crimes. It is those values that distinguish open societies from closed ones. The National Defence Authorization Act marks a low point in American history. If indefinite detention without trial were to happen in, say, Egypt, the US would – rightly – be the first to criticise. I am also very alarmed by the fact that the Chief Defense Counsel advised lawyers not to use computers for confidential contact with their clients. Surveillance and disappearing files, as well as eavesdropping, violate fundamental rights. We call on the US Congress to help President Obama to close Guantánamo Bay prison. Democracies and democrats must hold themselves, and each other, to the highest standards. In the words of Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, who spoke after the Utøya attacks: ‘violence must be met with more democracy’.