Monday, December 18, 2006

Demonstration called for the Fifth Anniversary of Guantanamo's Opening

An anti-torture organization has announced plans for a demonstration in D.C. on January 11, the fifth anniversary of the first prisoners arriving at the Guantanamo detention center. Below is their call to action.

On January 11th, 2002, twenty hooded and shackled men shuffled off a plane from Afghanistan, arriving at the U.S. prison at Guantánamo. In an attempt to sidestep the Geneva Convention protections for prisoners of war, the Bush administration created a new category of “enemy combatant” for these men captured in the “war on terror.”

Since that time, more than one thousand men and boys have been imprisoned at Guantánamo. Accounts of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment have been condemned by the United Nations, Human Rights Watch and other reputable bodies. The prisoners have resorted to hunger strikes as a way of protesting their treatment. Many have attempted suicide; three men killed themselves on June 10th 2006. Desperation, fear and frustration mark their confinement.

Five years later, not a single prisoner has been charged, tried or convicted of any crime. Many have been released because no evidence has been found against them, but more than 430 men remain in indefinite detention without hope of release. The United States has abandoned law and justice.

January 11th, 2007 marks five years of unjust imprisonment, isolation, beatings, interrogation and abuse for these men. We must say: no more. We must say: no longer. For our nation of laws, for our democracy, for our humanity and theirs, we demand small but essential steps to help return our nation to the best of our own traditions.

We call on the United States government to:
· Repeal the Military Commissions Act and restore Habeas Corpus.
· Charge and try or release all detainees.
· Withhold funds for the proposed $125 million construction of new military courts at Guantánamo.
· Clearly and unequivocally forbid torture and all other forms of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, by the military, the CIA, prison guards, civilian contractors, or anyone else.
· Pay reparations to current and former detainees and their families for violations of their human rights.
· Shut down Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram and all other U.S. prisons overseas, including secret CIA detention facilities.

We mark January 11, 2007 as a day of national shame. But we can also mark it as a day of citizen action. How? By acting on behalf of our fellow human beings in Guantánamo, their bereaved families and all victims of the “war on terrorism.”
We declare January 11, 2007 an International Day of Action to Shut Down Guantánamo. In Washington, DC we will march from the Supreme Court to the U.S. Federal Court. At the Supreme Court, Guantánamo Lawyers and others will address the press. Individuals will then proceed to Federal Court, taking on the names and identities of the men in Guantánamo and submitting Habeas petitions on their behalf. With our action and our bodies, we will forge the path that the Center for Constitutional Rights and other legal advocates demand on behalf of their clients. Outside the Federal Court on Constitution Avenue, people will read testimonies and names of prisoners, perform street theater and hand out information. There will be solidarity demonstrations from Amsterdam to Boise, Idaho and a National Call-In Day to Congress.

We invite you to come to Washington and participate, either as an individual or as part of an affinity group. If travel is not an option, join or plan an action in your own community. Around the country, groups are planning vigils and actions at courthouses, federal building and public squares. In other countries, the focus will be on U.S. Embassies and military facilities. For a full list of both National and International actions, visit

If you plan on coming to DC, we encourage you to form affinity groups and be in touch with organizers ahead of time for details on the scenario. Contact: or Matt Daloisio ( ) or Frida Berrigan ( In DC contact Art Laffin ( Malachy Kilbride ( ).

Washington, DC: Shut down Guantánamo

In Washington, D.C the day will include a press conference led by lawyers representing the men at Guantánamo and family members of those detained. Then we will march from the Supreme Court to the U.S. Federal Court, theatrically taking the prisoners’ case from the court that upheld their rights to the Federal Court where their cases need to be heard. With our action and our bodies, we will chart the course that Center for Constitutional Rights demands is taken on behalf of their clients. Outside the Federal Court, people will read stories from inside Guantanamo, do street theater and hand out leaflets. At the same time, inside the court house, we will bring the names and stories of those imprisoned at Guantanamo into the court; holding the court responsible for those men.

9:30am: Prisoner March rehearsal, and nonviolent direct action orientation. Upper Senate Park (intersection of Delaware & Constitution Avenues, NE)
10 am: Press Conference at the US Supreme Court (One First Street, NE)
11:30 am: "Prisoners of Guantánamo Procession" to the US Federal Court (intersection of Constitution Ave, NW and Pennsylvania Ave, NW)

A provocative street theater performance involving people wearing orange jump suits, black hoods and chains, and bearing the name of a man imprisoned at Guantánamo. We will march in an orderly silent procession, hauntingly evoking the moral disgrace that is Guantánamo. With your help, we will form a prisoner contingent including as many protesters as there are prisoners.

Upon arriving at Federal Court, we invite and encourage members of the prisoner contingent to risk arrest and attempt to deliver motions on prisoners' behalf to the Court. Those who do not wish to risk arrest will stay and continue to hold vigil outside the Court as part of a permitted rally and demonstration.
12:00 - 5pm: Vigil at the Federal Court
6:30pm: Teach-In at Georgetown Law School, details TBA
Be in Touch With Us: Please let us know in advance if you are willing to participate in either the Prisoners March, Civil Disobedience, or both. We'll have a final planning meeting and gathering Wednesday, January 10th, 6pm, details to come. Email us at

Witness Against Torture

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