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Guantánamo Diary

Larry Siems and Nancy Hollander
In conversation with Erwin Chemerinsky, Distinguished Professor of Law, UC Irvine With a dramatic reading by Reza Safai
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Episode Summary

Though never charged with a crime, Mohamedou Ould Slahi has been imprisoned at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp since 2002. His deeply personal diary—an unprecedented publishing event as the first ever book published by a still-imprisoned detainee—is a terrifying (and darkly humorous) chronicle of a vivid miscarriage of justice. To discuss the book and the case, longtime human rights activist and editor of Slahi’s book, Larry Siems, joins Slahi’s lawyer, Nancy Hollander, whose practice is devoted to criminal cases (including that of Chelsea E. Manning) involving national security issues.  

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Participant(s) Bio

Larry Siems balances writing and activism, having published scores of articles on human rights and serving for many years as director of Freedom to Write Programs for the writers' advocacy organization PEN, in both Los Angeles and New York. His work has appeared in a wide range of publications. He is the author of three books: Between the Lines: Letters Between Undocumented Mexican and Central American Immigrants and Their Families and Friends (1993); The Torture Report: What the Documents Say About America’s Post 9/11 Torture Program (2012); and the forthcoming Guantánamo Diary.

Nancy Hollander is an internationally recognized criminal defense lawyer from Albuquerque, New Mexico and an Associate Tenant with Doughty Street Chambers in London. Her practice is largely devoted to representing individuals and organizations accused of crimes. She has also argued and won a case involving religious freedom in the United States Supreme Court. Ms. Hollander represents two prisoners at Guantánamo Bay Naval Base and is lead counsel for Chelsea Manning on appeal. She is listed in the “Top 250 Women in Litigation in the U.S.” for 2012-2014, and was named one of America’s top fifty women litigators by the National Law Journal in 2001. In 1992-93, she was the President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Erwin Chemerinsky is the founding dean of the University of California, Irvine School of Law. He has authored eight books, most recently The Case Against the Supreme Court (2014), and more than 200 law-review articles. He has argued several cases before the Supreme Court and various circuits of the United States Court of Appeals.

Reza Safai co-starred in the 2011 Sundance Audience Winner “Circumstance,” which went on to win key awards at several international film festivals. Since his short film, “The Mario Valdez Story,” took home second place at Cannes-- he has been a mainstay in the US indie film scene as both an actor and producer. His latest film, produced by Black Light District (founded by Reza Safai and Daniel Grove), is the Sundance sensation, “A Girl Walks Home at Night,” an Iranian Vampire/Western. His next film will be “The Loner,” neo-noir thriller set in the opium underworld of Tehrangeles.