The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

"What's Wrong With This Picture?": Prosecuting Torture Protesters -- Not Perpetrators


The group Witness Against Torture states that beginning Monday, 27 individuals "will face trial stemming from arrests at the U.S. Capitol on January 21, 2010 -- the date by which President Obama had promised the closure of the Guantanamo detention camp."

Available for a limited number of interviews, Quigley is legal director for the Center for Constitutional Rights; he will be attending the trial. He said today: aEURoeThe architects of the torture policy -- the Bush Cheney Yoo team -- are not held accountable for their crimes. But people who peacefully and prayerfully protest these international human rights crimes are prosecuted. What is wrong with this picture?aEUR

Varon is with Witness Against Torture. Matthew W. Daloisio, also with the group, said today: aEURoeThe continued operation of the prison camp at Guantanamo is unacceptable. If Guantanamo was a foreign policy liability and stain on the rule of law on day one of the Obama presidency, it surely is 17 months later.aEUR

aEURoeThe deaths at Guantanamo show how barbaric U.S. policies have been,aEUR says Helen Schietinger, a defendant in the trial. aEURoeWe are still waiting for accountability for those who designed and carried out torture policies under President Bush. Obama canaEUR(tm)t restore the rule of law if he doesnaEUR(tm)t enforce the law.aEUR

The human rights activists plan to mount a aEURoenecessity defenseaEUR before Judge Russell Canan. aEURoeWe will be arguing that we broke the law only after exhausting all legal means of opposing a much larger crime -- the indefinite detention, mistreatment, and torture of men at Guantanamo and other U.S. prisons,aEUR says Jerica Arents of Chicago, Illinois, another the defendants.

Background: The Center for Constitutional Rights resource, "Investigate the Entire Torture Team"

Also: "Groups File Federal Complaint Against CIA Based on New Evidence Indicating Human Experimentation on Men in Detention"

Witness Against Torture formed in December 2005 when 25 activists walked to Guantanamo to visit the prisoners and condemn torture policies.

A nationwide consortium, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) represents an unprecedented effort to bring other voices to the mass-media table often dominated by a few major think tanks. IPA works to broaden public discourse in mainstream media, while building communication with alternative media outlets and grassroots activists.