The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Frida Berrigan -
Varon- 732-979-3119, 

Close Guantanamo With Justice Now, Action on January 11

Day of Action Against Torture, Extra-Legal Detention at the White House and Justice Deptartment, Tuesday, January 11


President Obama
entered office promising to close Guantanamo and remove the taint of
lawlessness it represents. Yet the prison remains open. While Congress blocks
efforts to transfer prisoners to the U.S. for criminal trials, the White House
draws up plans to hold some men indefinitely, without charge or trial.

That's not acceptable, says Witness Against Torture, which will
begin two weeks of protest in Washington, D.C. on January 11.On the 11th, a coalition of human
rights groups will hold a rally in
front of the White House at 11 am, followed by a "prisoner procession" to the
Department of Justice. There, one group of participants will demand a meeting
with DoJ officials, while others will engage in non-violent civil disobedience.By blocking the lawsuits of former
detainees, appealing the decisions of federal judges ordering the release of
prisoners, and refusing to prosecute Bush administration officials for torture,
the Justice Department has failed to fulfill President Obama's promise of
accountability and respect for the rule of law.

"Congress and the White House are
rapidly moving toward a policy of permanent detention without trial for many of
the prisoners at Guantanamo," says Bob Cooke of Witness Against Torture.
"Bagram and other detention centers remain beyond the reach of the law.
This violates the U.S. Constitution, as well as international law. When our
government's policies violate the law and our nation's ideals, it's up to the
people to challenge the government directly."

The protest on the 11th
will be followed by 10 days of fasting, lobbying, and demonstrating in
Washington, D.C.

Witness Against Torture demands include:

  • Close
    the prison at Guantanamo Bay;
  • Free
    all prisoners who have been cleared for release, ensuring their safe
    resettlement and providing asylum in the U.S. for those unable to go
  • Produce
    charges against all other prisoners and prosecute them in U.S. courts;
  • Open
    all detention centers to outside scrutiny. That includes accepting the
    oversight of the International Committee of the Red Cross of all
    facilities; and
  • Conduct
    a comprehensive criminal inquiry against all those who designed and
    carried out torture policies under the Bush administration.

Event: Rally and "prisoner procession" to the Department of Justice, followed by non-violent direct action.
Date and Time: Tues, Jan. 11, beginning at 11 am
Location: The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.

Who We
In December 2005, Witness
Against Torture
drew international attention when its members
walked to Guantanamo Bay to protest at the prison. Since its return, the group
has organized vigils, marches, nonviolent direct actions, and educational
events opposing torture and calling for the closure of Guantanamo.

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.