ICUJP Joins International Day of Protest to Mark 10th Anniversary of Guantánamo Prison As US Site of Torture and Abuse
January 5, 2012 For interviews or information, contact:
For immediate release Andy Griggs, 310-704-3217 firstname.lastname@example.org
Who: Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP) and several other groups (listed below)
What: Protest Actions Against Guantánamo - CLOSE GUANTÁNAMO NOW! 10 YEARS TOO MANY!
When & Where: Wednesday, January 11, 2012
9 AM Vigil and Tableau, 10 AM Press Conference; Downtown LA Federal Building (Temple and Los Angeles streets);
4 - 5:30 PM Rally and Vigil; Westwood Federal Building (Wilshire and Veteran)
Why: Demand Closure of Guantánamo Prison, End Torture and Abuses at Bagram and in CA Prisons
Visuals: Participants in Orange Jumpsuits and Hoods Create Silent Tableau of Images of Torture
Mohammed Ghanem of Yemen was taken into custody by Pakistan while crossing the border from Afghanistan in the wake of the U.S. attack there following September 11. He was turned over to U.S. authorities, although no terrorist activity on his part has ever been established. One of the first prisoners sent to Guantánamo in January of 2002, he was moved between cells and blocks every two hours over a six-month period, losing a lot of weight and almost losing his sanity. Refused treatment for his hemorrhoids unless he agreed to cooperate with his interrogators, he yielded to his captors’ pressure, only to have prison doctors botch the operation. He has never been formally charged, given a trial or even a habeas corpus hearing and remains in Guantánamo to this day. He is one of 171 prisoners still illegally held by the U.S government in Guantánamo.
To protest the torture, denial of habeas corpus and other lawless conditions that prevail at Guantanamo, members of Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (http://icujp.org) and other human rights organizations will don orange Guantánamo-style jumpsuits and black hoods and participate in a silent protest on January 11 from 9 to 10 AM in front of the downtown Federal Building at Temple and Los Angeles Streets.
This will be followed by a press conference at 10 AM at the same location where three local lawyers representing Guantánamo prisoners and a number of other civil rights figures will speak:
- Michael S. Rapkin of the Law Offices of Michael S. Rapkin in Santa Monica, representing Mohammed Ghanem;
- Anne Richardson of Hadsell Stormer Keeny Richardson & Renick LLP of Pasadena, representing Afghan citizen Obaidullah (no last name), also tortured at Guantánamo;
- Victoria Don of Schonbrun DeSimone Seplow Harris Hoffman & Harrison LLP of Venice and South Pasadena, which represents Syrian Kurd Abdul Rahim Abdul Razak Al Janko, tortured prior to his 2009 release from Guantánamo.
- Stefan Ali, student at Southwestern Law School representing the National Lawyers Guild
- Kendra Castaneda, California prison rights activist for human rights
- Virginia Classick Coordinator of the Los Angeles Region Religious Campaign Against Torture
- Julie Gutman Executive Director of Program for Torture Victims
- Dr. Dennis D. Loo Author, award-winning scholar and Professor of Sociology, Cal Poly, Pomona
- Ameena Mirza Qazi Staff Attorney and Deputy Executive Director, CAIR-Los Angeles
- Stephen Rohde Chair of ICUJP
- Hector Villagra, Executive Director of ACLU- So CA
January 11 marks the 10th anniversary of the U.S. government’s announcement it would use Guantanamo as a prison in the “war on terror.” For the first time in the history of this country, the United States has systematically and deliberately engaged in torture, kidnapping (known by its euphemism "extraordinary rendition"), and indefinite imprisonment without trial, conviction or rational explanation as a matter of government policy.
Torture is illegal under the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, and the UN Convention Against Torture, to which the U.S. is a signatory.
And Guantanamo is just the tip of a torture iceberg that has included U.S. government black sites in Bagram Air Field in Iraq, Poland, Romania, Thailand and other locations.
We are deeply troubled that torture conditions that once thought to be confined to dark places like Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo and Bagram are experienced on a daily basis in US prisons like the SHU at Pelican Bay, as the Prisoner Hunger Strikers have brought to public attention recently. It is fundamentally wrong to subject people to sensory deprivation, no human contact and prolonged solitary confinement whether they are labeled the "worst of the worst" in US prisons, or "terrorist suspects" confined overseas. The inhumanity of pushing human suffering beyond endurable limits that underlies both domestic and overseas treatment of prisoners must be ended.
ICUJP calls on President Obama and Attorney General Holder to investigate and, where warranted, prosecute high U.S. government officials who have designed and implemented policies of torture since the U.S. announced the opening of Guantanamo on January 11, 2002.
- 30 -
ENDORSERS (in alphabetical order):
Addicted to War * American Civil Liberties Union–So CA * American Friends Service Committee–LA * Amnesty International USA * ANSWER-LA * Bill of Rights Defense Committee * Center for Constitutional Rights * CODEPINK LA * Coffee Party * Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) * Hadsell Stormer Keeny Richardson & Renick LLP * LA Laborfest * LA Region Religious Campaign Against Torture (LARRCAT) * Law Offices of Michael S. Rapkin * MLK Coalition for Jobs, Justice, & Peace * National Lawyers Guild – LA * National Lawyers Guild Campus Chapters- Loyola, Southwestern, UC Irvine, UC LA * Occupy The Hood * Office of the Americas * Out Against War * Pax Christi–LA & So CA * Program for Torture Victims–LA * Revolution Books * Schonbrun DeSimone Seplow Harris Hoffman & Harrison LLP * Shura Council of So CA * School of the Americas Watch–LA * St. Camillus Center for Spiritual Care * Unifying Peace With Actions Respect & Dignity (UPWARD) * WE Project * World Can’t Wait
For more information:
http://ccrjustice.org/illegal-detentions-and-guantanamo (Center for Constitutional Rights)
“Guantanamo Bay detention camp” entry on Wikipedia