CODEPINK: US Activist Tighe Barry Arrested at US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on Assistance to Pakistan
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DECEMBER 7, 2007
US Activist Tighe Barry Arrested at US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on Assistance to Pakistan
WASHINGTON - December 7 - On December 6, Tighe Barry, a CODEPINK activist who along with Medea
Benjamin was deported from Pakistan at gunpoint for supporting
pro-democracy forces, was arrested at the US Senate Foreign Relations
Committee Hearing on US Assistance to Pakistan.
Barry and Benjamin, deported on December 5, flew directly to
Washington DC to attend this hearing. They had asked for the
opportunity to testify about their firsthand experience with the
heroism of Pakistan's civil society and the brutality of the
government, but were told that the witnesses had already been
The first to testify was Richard Boucher, Assistant Secretary of
State for South and Central Asian Affairs. His testimony was
infuriating to Barry, Benjamin and the 10 other CODEPINK activists who
were in attendance and holding up signs saying "No Money To Musarraf".
Mr. Boucher gave the impression that Pakistan was on the path to
democracy and that our billions of dollars in assistance was being
well used. He called the state of emergency a mere "bump in the road."
The travesty of sacking the independent Supreme Court judges and
replacing them with Musharraf allies was called a "Supreme Court
reshuffling." While admitting that the elections would not be
"perfect," he asserted that the State Department was working closely
with Pakistani officials to ensure that the elections are free, fair,
transparent and credible.
He went on to say that democracy also requires accountable government
institutions, including an independent judiciary, protection of
individual human rights, a free and dynamic press, an atmosphere
promoting open debate, and a vibrant civil society. "Pakistan is
making progress toward those goals," he claimed,
Having just witnessed firsthand the thuggery of Musharraf's regime,
Barry could not believe his ears. He stood up in protest, saying that
the Assistant Secretary's testimony was full of lies. "Musharraf has
beaten lawyers and students, destroyed the judiciary, and censored the
press," said Barry. "The U.S. must freeze all funding to this military
government until emergency rule is lifted, the independent judiciary
is reinstated, the censorship of the media is lifted, and all judges,
lawyers, students and human rights defenders are released."
Barry was pulled out of the room, handcuffed, and put in a
paddywagon. "I felt compelled to do this for the sake of my friends in
Pakistan," he said as they took him away. "Pakistanis risk their lives
standing up to their government; I have to stand up to mine."
Barry was cited and released, and must appear in Court on December 27
to face charges of Disorderly Conduct.
For interviews contact: Tighe Barry, 310-920-8248 or firstname.lastname@example.org