Shedding light on torture and injustice
On Tuesday, September 26th business leaders, NGOs, lawyers, think tanks, and scholars gathered with Leidar in Oslo to hear the story of Mohamedou Ould Slahi.
He spent fifteen years at Guantanamo Bay without any due process or charges, and suffered gruesome torture as uncovered both in his book “The Guantanamo Diaries” and the film “The Mauritanian”. Thanks to the relentless efforts of his lawyer, Nancy Hollander he could leave Guantanamo as a free man in 2016.
Mohamedou is one of the several thousands of people who have been unlawfully and undeservingly detained in prison without access to justice.
International Bridges to Justice (IBJ) is dedicated to ensuring the basic legal rights of ordinary citizens throughout the world. Specifically, IBJ works to guarantee all citizens the right to competent legal representation, the right to be protected from cruel and unusual punishment, and the right to a fair trial. IBJ estimates that over 25 million people have been touched by their work, with 22,000 lawyers trained worldwide and over 30,000 ordinary people having directly benefited from legal counsel.
Both Nancy Hollander and Karen Tse, the founder of International Bridges to Justice, delivered speeches at the event in Oslo.
Karen Founded International Bridges to Justice more than twenty years ago and leads the organisation today as their CEO.
Slahi’s lawyer, Nancy Hollander, is one of the most well-known U.S. Defense lawyers. During the panel discussion, Hollander explained the process of getting Slahi out of Guantanamo Bay.
Tse said that Slahi’s story, although traumatizing and painful, is sadly only one out of several thousand similar stories all around the world.
After the panel discussion, we welcomed our guests to join us in networking with food and drinks before they could watch The Mauritanian on the big screen. Slahi, Tse and Hollander were all quick to meet and greet with the guests.
The CEO and founder of Leidar, Rolf Olsen, has long been engaged in the human right to judicial representation, legal aid and to end torture. As a Board Member of International Bridges to Justice he has decided to engage Leidar to support the work of IBJ on a pro-bono basis.
“Earlier this year we lost a great friend and colleague, Richard Levick. Richard was a lawyer and deeply engaged in people’s right to representation, whether in the public court or in securing due process. He too was engaged in the issues around Guantanamo Bay, and I am sure he would have been proud to be here this evening,” Olsen said and promised that “Leidar will do Richard Levick’s legacy a great honor by supporting IBJ.”
The evening had a strong impact on all of the audience, and it was emotional to meet the real heroes of “The Mauritanian”. We believe that because of this event, we are able to raise awareness of how many people need judicial help, representation, and counsel all around the world. Now our goal is to ensure that IBJ can continue its work for a more legally fair world.
Consultant, Media and Content, based in Oslo
Maiken has previously worked in politics, the private sector and in non-governmental organisations, focusing on communications, sustainability, politics and media.