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Witness Against Torture: Anti-Guantanamo Activists Released After 30 Hours in Custody

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 14, 2008
5:30 PM

CONTACT: Witness Against Torture
Frida Berrigan, 347-683-4928
Matthew W. Daloisio, 201-264-4424

 
Anti-Guantanamo Activists Released After 30 Hours in Custody
Arrested At US Supreme Court, Human Rights Activists Took Names of Guantanamo Prisoners When Charged
 

WASHINGTON - January 14 -As they went before a judge at the US Superior Court for the District of Columbia late Saturday, a group of activists arrested the previous day each gave the name of one of the men imprisoned at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantánamo. Speaking the Guantánamo prioners' names into the court record was the culmination of a day of action against torture and indeterminate detention that began on Friday with a march to the U.S Supreme Court and the arrest of 82 activists inside and on the steps of the Court.

They were charged with “unlawful free speech on Supreme Court grounds.” Those arrested inside the building received an additional charge of “causing a harangue within the Supreme Court.”

As of 8 p.m. Saturday, all 82 persons had been released. Many were denied food and water for most of the 30 hours they were detained. About 70 withheld their identification and instead gave the name of a detainee upon arrest. Forty-six pled not guilty and will be going back for trial. Others accepted an agreement not to be arrested for the next six months in exchange for the charges being dropped.

The arrestees were participating in Witness Against Torture's Jan. 11 action to Shut Down Guantánamo, which began with a solemn procession from the National Mall by 400 persons, including a contingent dressed as the Guantánamo prisoners in orange jumpsuits and black hoods. The march was preceded by a short rally at the Mall organized by Amnesty International, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, and Witness Against Torture. The event was part of an International Day of Action endorsed by over 100 groups and that included 83 events around the world.

The arrestees included people from across the country; teenagers and octogenarians; first-time arrestees; and members of Witness Against Torture's original delegation, who walked to Guantanámo to visit the prisoners in December 2005.

For more information about Witness Against torture, as well as photos and video of the Jan. 11 action at the Supreme Court, please visit www.witnesstorture.org.

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