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January 5, 2010
2:54 PM

CONTACT: Witness Against Torture

Frida Berrigan, 347-683-4928        
Jeremy Varon, 732-979-3119

Activists and Lawyers Rally, March and Offer Press Briefing, Mark 8 Years of Guantanamo

WASHINGTON - January 5 - Eight years ago next Monday, the Guantanamo prison opened for “war on terror” detainees. Activists and detainee lawyers will mark the anniversary, Monday, January 11, by demanding that President Obama make good on his pledge to close the prison and declaring their opposition to any plan for holding prisoners without charge or trial in the U.S.

Schedule, January 11, 2010





Demonstration with street theater, signs, and speakers, announcement of 12 day fast.

White House Plaza, between Lafayette Park and “picture postcard” zone


Begin prisoner procession, a silent walk of more than 40 jumpsuited “detainees”



Press Briefing with the Center for Constitutional Rights

National Press Club, 529 14th Street

Murrow Room

Members of Witness Against Torture will rally in front of the White House at 11:45 a.m. to protest the lack of progress toward justice for detainees since Obama took office and demand from the administration true change.  Speakers will announce a 12-Day Fast for Justice in Washington DC, ending on January 22-- the Obama administration’s self-declared, and now-voided, deadline for closing Guantanamo.

“Obama promised to break with the Bush administration,” says Matt Daloisio of Witness Against Torture. “But in so many areas-- from the continued use of rendition, to the ongoing detention of innocent men at Guantanamo, to the refusal to prosecute alleged torturers-- he has sustained the policies of his predecessor. As fear of terrorism again grips the nation, we need to stand more firmly on the principles of justice and the rule of law, and not go further down the disastrous path of the last eight years.”

After the demonstration, activists will stage a Guantanamo prisoner procession to the National Press Club. There, they will join the Center for Constitutional Rights for a press briefing featuring detainee lawyers and human rights activists. The briefing, led by CCR Executive Director Vince Warren, will include the reading of letters from released and exonerated Guantanamo detainees calling for the prison’s closure and justice for all detainees.


Witness Against Torture is a grassroots movement that came into being in December 2005 when 24 activists walked to Guantanamo to visit the prisoners and condemn torture policies. Since then, it has engaged in public education, community outreach, and non-violent direct action. For the first 100 days of the Obama administration, the group held a daily vigil at the White House, encouraging the new President to uphold his commitments to shut down Guantanamo.

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