For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Helen Schietinger, 202-344-5762,
Matt Daloisio, 201-264-4424,

Witness Against Torture Decries Obama’s Broken Promises, America’s Broken Laws, Lives Broken by Torture

Day of Action to Close Guantanamo and Bagram and End Torture

WASHINGTON - A year ago today, Barack Obama was inaugurated President, riding a
waves of hope and excitement into the Oval Office. Two days later, he
signed executive orders outlawing torture and committing his
administration to closing Guantanamo within a year.

“We in the anti-torture movement were so hopeful,” comments Sherrill
Hogan from Western Massachusetts. “We looked forward to seeing
Guantanamo closed, to seeing the many innocent men there freed, and to
seeing those against whom the U.S. had credible evidence at last
charged and brought to trial. But now, we hear that the administration
plans to keep Guantanamo open at least until 2011. Its promises are

Under the banner “Broken Promises, Broken Laws, Broken Lives,”
Witness Against Torture is mobilizing for a march and action on
Thursday, January 21. The march of Guantanamo prisoners dressed in
orange jumpsuits and black hoods begins at the Obama White House and
travels a mile and a half in silent and solemn procession to the
Supreme Court and by the Capitol, highlighting all of the institutions
that have failed to execute their most basic function-- justice.

“We march to hold the Obama administration to its words and
promises,” says Helen Schietinger of Washington, DC. “The United States
continues to detain dozens of men at Guantanamo who have been cleared
for release. In addition, the Obama administration is expanding the
prison at Bagram, and proposing indefinite detention without charge or
trial for many and an Illinois prison facility for others. We see
President Obama trying to replace the lawlessness of Guantanamo with a
“legal black hole” in the continental United States. The laws are

The day of action follows a twelve day fast and vigil for justice.
More than 150 people from around the country joined the fast, 50 of
them vigiling and meeting daily in Washington, DC. The fast ends on
Friday, January 22-- the Obama administration's widely proclaimed and
now-voided-- deadline for closing Guantanamo.

“We have been fasting to remember the men who continue to languish
at Guantanamo. For many, seven or eight years have gone by,” says Matt
Daloisio of New York City. “Children have grown up without seeing their
fathers. Parents have died. Families, whole communities, have been torn
apart. The lives of these men have been broken.”


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Schedule of the Day
10:15 am Gather at the White House for a brief program

10:45 am Begin “prisoner” procession to Supreme Court (mile and a
half walk). This will be a silent and solemn procession of people
dressed in orange jumpsuits and black hoods

12:15 pm Arrive at the Supreme Court (across the street from the
U.S. Capitol) for vigil with “Broken Promises, Broken Laws, Broken
Lives” banners.

Witness Against Torture is a grassroots movement that came into
being in December 2005 when 24 activists walked through Cuba to the
Guantanamo base to condemn the prison camp and torture policies. Since
then, it has engaged in public education, community outreach, and
non-violent direct action.

To learn more visit


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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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