Anti-Torture Activists Denounce the Denial of Due Process and Justice for the Victims of US Torture

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Jeremy Varon, jvaron@aol.com; 732-979-3119  
Matt Daloisio, daloisio@earthlink.net; 201-264-4424

Anti-Torture Activists Denounce the Denial of Due Process and Justice for the Victims of US Torture

WASHINGTON - Witness Against Torture,
a grassroots organization dedicated to closing Guantanamo and ending US
torture, condemns the decision of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth
Circuit
in Mohamed, et. al. versus Jeppesen
DataPlan, Inc.
to accept the “states-secret privilege” as grounds
for
dismissing lawsuits brought by victims of CIA rendition and of torture

whether in CIA-run “black sites,” in countries to which they were
rendered, or
in Guantanamo Bay.

Witness Against Torture likewise condemns the decision of
the Department of Justice under the Obama administration to adopt the
position
of the Bush administration that fraudulent concerns over national
security
should over-ride the plaintiffs’ right of due process and redress for
the gross
crimes committed against them.

The Ninth Circuit Court’s decision grants the United States
government effective immunity for the breaking of domestic and
international
law.  It represents a profound violation
not only of the rights of men who were kidnapped and tortured, but of
also of
due process and the rule of law.

“When the law itself becomes an instrument for justifying
and excusing torture, the law is meaningless,” says Matt Daloisio of
Witness
Against Torture. “The clear message is that no one will be held to
account,
that torture will not be punished.”

“The Obama administration may well have reached a point of
no return on a dangerous path that both exonerates and continues the
criminal
policies of the Bush administration,” says Jeremy Varon of Witness
Against
Torture. “President Obama has betrayed his campaign promises, large
parts of
his Party, and millions of Americans who supported him in hopes of a
decisive
break with the Bush administration.”

“Our hearts go out to Mr. Binyam Mohamed and the other
plaintiffs in the case,” says Helen Schietinger of Witness Against
Torture. “To
the massive injury of rendition and torture is now added the grave
insult of
being denied a day in court.  This isn’t
the America I know."

Witness Against Torture will continue to press for the
closure of the detention facility at Guantanamo and for accountability
for
torture.  Towards these ends, it is
pursuing dialogue with high-ranking officials in the Obama Justice
Department.

Witness Against Torture formed in December 2005 when
twenty-five activists walked to Guantanamo to protest the detention
camp.
 Since then, it has engaged in public education, lobbying, community
outreach, and non-violent civil disobedience. 

###

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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