Successfully advocating for the release of Mohamedou Ould Salahi from the Guantánamo Bay Detention Center

#FreeSlahi, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) & Nancy Hollander, Esq. - Spring - Summer 2016

Project: Under the direction of three world-renowned attorneys, Theresa Duncan,  Nancy Hollander, and Hina Shamsi, and the bold leadership of the ACLU, we worked with a team of legal and communications experts to raise awareness for the release of Mohamedou Ould Salahi from the Guantánamo Bay Detention Center.  Salahi (also known by the last name Slahi) was best known at the time for having written the manuscript for the bestselling book Guantánamo Diary from the detention center. 

Objective: Raise awareness and show broad support for the release of Mohamedou Ould Salahi, who had been held  without charge at Guantánamo Bay for more than 14 years.

Components: Crafted strategy to generate 100,000 petition signers. Set weekly agenda for team and coordinated with key stakeholders. Co-created social media social share series. Co-produced events in New York and D.C. Conducted outreach to secure support of key social media influencers. 

Results:  More than 100,000 people signed the FreeSlahi petitons and the #FreeSlahi hashtag trended on Twitter during key moments before Slahi’s critical hearing before the Periodic Review Board in June 2016.

Real World Impact: In July 2016, Mohamedou Salahi was cleared for release. In October 2016, he departed Guantánamo and reunited with his family in Mauritania. 

Ginny was a dream collaborator on the ACLU’s #FreeSlahi campaign. Guantanamo advocacy is delicate and difficult, and Ginny not only expertly grasped the nuances of this work but also made things run much more smoothly. She skillfully coordinated multiple institutional partners (never an easy task!) and was responsible for landing key celebrity supporters when the campaign most needed them. Working with Ginny was one of the highlights of my experience on this campaign, and I would sign up to work with her again without hesitation.
— Sara Gold, Online Communications, American Civil Liberties Union
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Ginny Simmons