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January 13, 2009
6:04 PM

CONTACT: Witness Against Torture

Matt Daloisio, 201-264-4424,
Tanya Theriault, 718-419-7619,

"Yes, We Can!" Close Guantanamo in 100 Days

Nine-day fast to close camp reaches 100, while 42 detainees hunger strike in Guantanamo

WASHINGTON - January 13 - Witness Against Torture, a grassroots group dedicated to closing Guantanamo and ending torture, is heartened by the announcement from unnamed members of Barack Obama's transition team that the new President will sign an executive order to close Guantanamo on January 21st, his first full day in office.

But members of the group, which marked the seventh anniversary of the Guantanamo prison with a demonstration on Sunday, January 11th , are alarmed that carrying out this order is likely to be a year-long process, or longer. "Guantanamo must be closed not just on paper, but in reality. And for the 250 men still there, it has already been seven years too long," remarks Frida Berrigan, an organizer with Witness Against Torture.

More than 100 people around the country have joined Witness Against Torture in a Fast for Justice that began on January 11th and will end the morning of President Barack Obama's inauguration.

The Fast for Justice has grown in response to recent comments from Obama that a quick timeline for closing Guantanamo would be a "challenge." At the same time, the Pentagon is reporting that 42 men at Guantanamo are on a new hunger strike, with most subject to force-feeding.

"With our fast, we join our voices and our bodies with these men on hunger strike in the sincere hope that President Obama fulfills his promise and ends the injustice that is Guantanamo immediately," remarks Matthew Vogel, another organizer who is also fasting. Half of the "Fasters for Justice" are in Washington, DC and will hold a vigil and march starting from DuPont Circle Park and processing around the city, from 11am-1pm each day through Tuesday, January 20. The rest of the fasters are participating from around the country.

The fast will be broken in a sunrise ceremony on Inauguration Day in McPherson Square, DC.

For details and updates, visit
Photos of the event:
Videos of the event:

For the first fifteen weeks of the new administration, Witness will maintain a daily presence in Lafayette Park across the street from the White House, attempting to keep the plight of the men in Guantanamo in the forefront of both the President's and American Public's mind.



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