More than fifty-four Americans against torture were arrested in Washington D.S. yesterday. Today marks the eight-year anniversary of the opening of the Guantanamo prison and one year since President Obama ordered the closing of the Guantánamo Bay detention facility within the year. (Read: President Obama’s commitment to close the prison at Guantánamo)
Most of those arrested were from Witness for Torture group, associated with Amnesty International and clad in orange jumpsuits. They were arrested by the East Front steps of the Capitol where they were arrested between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Thursday, charged with disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly Capitol Police spokeswoman and reported by Jordy Yager for The Hill.
Fourteen others were arrested and charged with the same offenses.
ACLU and Amnesty International call for citizen action
“Not only does Guantánamo remain open, but according to news reports today, an administration task force has recommended the detention without trial of nearly 50 of the 198 prisoners held there because ‘they are too difficult to prosecute but too dangerous to release,” stated Anthony Romero, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Executive Director today.
Amnesty International reports, “Late last night – on the eve of the date President Obama promised to restore justice to a busted Guantanamo detention system – a Justice Department-led task force released its outrageous recommendation to continue holding nearly 50 Guantanamo detainees indefinitely.”
“We’re stunned that the Department of Justice would act in such flagrant and direct violation of civil liberties, human rights, and a Supreme Court ruling in 2008 that confirmed Guantanamo detainees’ rights to habeas corpus.”
Romero asserted, “Holding people indefinitely without charge or trial goes against the rule of law and undermines our nation’s Constitutional values. Tell President Obama you want him to end indefinite detention and close Guantánamo.”
Obama not met that timeline, “partly because members of Congress have been unwilling to have prisoners transferred to their states,” according to Yager, adding, “Calls for Guantanamo to stay open were renewed by some Republicans in the wake of the Christmas Day attempted bombing of a flight to Detroit.
Romero calls the Republican politicans’ justification and pressure to keep the detention center open “fear-mongering.”
“Confronted with these scare tactics and afraid of being branded ‘soft on terrorism,’ too few politicians are standing up for American values of justice and due process,” said Romero.
“That is why it is absolutely essential for President Obama to hear from all Americans who want to see failed Bush administration policies reversed and these injustices brought to an end.
“Please join us in telling President Obama that you support ending indefinite detention, closing Guantánamo Bay and upholding American values of justice and due process,”
To mark the missed deadline, we’ll be joining MoveOn, Amnesty, Human Rights Watch and others, by using Twitter and Facebook to “get everyone online talking about closing Guantánamo.”
Romero is encouraging Americans to, “Tweet messages with the “#closegitmo” hashtag. Also, change your Twitter or Facebook profile picture to an orange ribbon with a message to ‘CLOSE GITMO.'”
Amnesty International released the statement, “We’ve got to fight fire with fire – only an independent, bipartisan commission can help untangle the human rights mess created at Guantanamo. Call on the White House and Congress to establish a new kind of independent, bipartisan task force to take a deeper look at the flawed policies at Guantanamo.”
Learn more: Download images here and
- Tweet messages with the “#closegitmo” hashtag (if you follow the national ACLU’s Twitter feed, you can re-tweet messages that we will be posting)
- Change your Twitter or Facebook profile picture to an orange ribbon with a message to “CLOSE GITMO”. (Twitter and Facebook will automatically resize these .gifs:
- Spread the word! The goal of the anti-torture groups is to make #closegitmo a top trending topic. Success depends on reaching many people in a short amount of time to jump-start the conversation. Help deliver this important message by asking others to join us (especially those with large followings online!)
- For the latest ACLU news on Guantánamo, visit www.closegitmo.com.
- Email President Obama and your members of Congress urging them to establish an independent, bipartisan commission to review Guantanamo policies
- Even if you’ve done so already, please tweet about Guantanamo using the hashtag #closegitmo. Or simply follow us on Twitter and re-tweet our messages.
- Change your profile picture on Facebook, MySpace or other social networks to our Close Gitmo solidarity image or add the image to your blog or website.