On January 11, 2007, the fifth year that detainees from Afghanistan have been in Guantanamo, organizations all over the world will call for Guantanamo to be closed. For the sake of our integrity and conscience, each one of us must take action: organize vigils, show the movie “The Road to Guantanamo”or have readings of “Guantanamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom” (www.bordc.org. )
Act on January 11 to end torture, stop violations of international law and CLOSE GUANTANAMO! (Check www.witnesstorture.org for events.)
Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Jan 11 Event
Evening of activities - from screening a film to signing a petition.
BE SURE TO WEAR SOMETHING ORANGE in sympathy for
those held without due process.
1103 3RD St SE,
According to Reuters, "as the fifth anniversary of the Guantanamo Bay detention center approaches, Human Rights Watch denounced the ongoing detentions there as a shameful blight on US respect for human rights. Human Rights Watch called on the Bush administration to bring criminal charges or release the nearly 400 detainees, and restore their access to federal court. On January 11, 2002, the first 20 detainees in the "war on terror" arrived, hooded and shackled, at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Today, close to 400 men remain there without charge, unable to challenge the lawfulness of their detention before federal court. "Detaining hundreds of men without charge at Guantanamo has been a legal and political debacle of historic proportions," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. "It's time to close Guantanamo.
The Bush administration should either charge or release the detainees trapped in a nightmarish limbo."Since establishing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, the Bush administration has sought to shroud it in secrecy and insulate its actions from judicial review. After the Supreme Court ruled that detainees could challenge the lawfulness of their detention in courts, the Bush administration pushed legislation through Congress that revokes that right.
The same legislation strips detainees of the right to challenge their treatment, even if they have been tortured, and even after they have been released. "The first order of business for the new Congress should be to restore the detainees' right to habeas corpus," Roth said. "It's a vital mechanism for preventing abuse of detainees and for protecting people who shouldn't be in detention.""
On January 9-13, a first-ever international delegation of former prisoners, families of current prisoners, US lawyers and human rights activists will travel to Guantanamo, Cuba to hold a conference on prison abuses and march to the Cuban-side security gate of the US Naval Base to call for the closure of the illegal prison. The protest in Cuba is part of the January 11 International Day to Shut Down Guantanamo, the day that marks the 5-year anniversary of the first prisoners being sent to Guantanamo.
“I am traveling all the way from Dubai because by heart is overflowing with grief over the abuse and ongoing detention of my son,” says Zohra Zewawi, who claims her son has been tortured and blinded in one eye during his detention, and has never been charged or tried. Her son was imprisoned in September 2002 and is still a prisoner in Guantanamo. Asif Iqbal, a former detainee who was freed on no charges after years of abuse, is coming to show his support for the basic rights of detainees.
“All prisoners deserve humane treatment and fair trials, which is not happening in Guatanamo,” says retired US Army Colonel and delegate Ann Wright. “US federal courts, not military commissions, should hear the cases against those charged with terrorist acts and the infamous prison in Guantanamo should be immediately shut down.”
The group, organizing by US groups CODEPINK: Women for Peace and Global Exchange, will hold a press conference in Havana on January 9, a conference in Guantanamo on January 10 on prison conditions and international law, and then on January 11 will march from the center of Guantanamo to the security gate of the US Naval Base where the prison is located to hold an interfaith service and call for the closing of the prison. The group will then travel to Havana to debrief the press on January 13. A smaller group will then travel to the US to lobby Congress to shut the prison, restore Habeas Corpus, repeal the Military Commissions Act, and give all detainees fair trials or release them.