Thursday, January 11, 2007
While the newspapers are filled today with accounts of President Bush's plan to escalate the Iraq war -and we hope that you are contacting Congress or otherwise demonstrating your opposition to this insane plan - we must also remember that today is an important anniversary in Bush's so-called "war on terror."
Five years ago today, on January 11th, 2002, twenty hooded and shackled men shuffled off a plane from Afghanistan, arriving at the U.S. prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Since that day, more than one thousand men and boys have been imprisoned at Guantanamo amid accounts of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, with absolutely no legal recourse in what amounts to a judicial black hole.
On the fifth anniversary of that dark day, we say: no more. Hundreds of peace and justice activists will be risking arrest to deliver the names of Guantanamo prisoners into the judicial system in Washington D.C. today, January 11, 2007. We ask you to support them and help us bring our nation back to the side of humanity, justice and the rule of law.
Call your members of Congress through the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and demand that
• Guantanamo Bay prison be closed;
• all detainees there be either charged and tried, or released;
• torture and all other forms of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment by the U.S. military, the CIA, prison guards, civilian contractors, or anyone else, be clearly and unequivocally forbidden.
It is incredible but true: not a single prisoner at Guantanamo has been charged, tried or convicted of any crime. Many prisoners have been released because no evidence has been found against them, yet more than 430 people continue to languish in indefinite detention without hope of release, fair trial, or even a hearing on the charges against them Fear and desperation mark their confinement. The prisoners have resorted to hunger strikes as a way of protesting their treatment, and many have attempted suicide.
We cannot claim to be a just or humane society while our government abandons all accepted standards of justice and law, both our own and international law.
Please call your members of Congress today through the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121. Demand that Guantanamo Bay prison be closed; that all detainees there be either charged and tried or released; and that torture and all other forms of cruel, inhuman by any agent or employee of the U.S. government or armed forces be clearly and unequivocally forbidden.
Thank you for participating in this International Day of Action to End Torture and Close Guantanamo, for acting on behalf of our fellow human beings in Guantánamo, and for joining us to defend the law and our common humanity.
Demonstrators rallied at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and around the globe to call for the closure of the US prison, five years after its first "war on terror" detainee arrived. Around 395 people are
being held at the controversial US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, most without legal safeguards such as access to courts or legal counsel. UN chief Ban Ki-moon joined in the world refrain, saying "like my predecessor (Kofi Annan), I believe the prison should be closed." His comments came as the London-based human rights group Amnesty International appealed to world powers to press the United States to shut down the prison at the US enclave at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
SBS World News