For Immediate Release
Today at 2 PM Anti-Torture Activists, in 9th Day of Fast, Demand Meeting With Attorney General, Rally at Justice Department
WASHINGTON - Following a June 2010 meeting with the Department of
Justice, Witness Against Torture has asked through letters, phone
calls, and vigils that the DoJ make good on its pledge for further
discussion on the issues of Guantánamo and torture. Those requests
have been denied. Witness Against Torture is now demanding a meeting
with Attorney General Eric Holder and will rally outside the DoJ
offices at Constitution Avenue between 9th and 10th streets on
Wednesday, January 19 from 2-4 pm.
“We were promised a meeting and that promise has been broken,” says
Matt Daloisio, an organizer with Witness Against Torture. “And so we
come again, after nine days of fasting and demonstrations, with an
invitation for Eric Holder to sit down with us, break bread, and talk
about issues vital to the soul of our country.”
While the nation plays politics with Guantánamo, men “cleared for
release” by the U.S. government or who have won their habeas cases
remain in detention. “This is unacceptable,” says Jerica Arents, a
Chicago resident and one of over 100 people taking part in an 11-day
fast against torture. “The Justice Department has a direct hand in
this horror. It has appealed successful habeas cases and failed to
develop a mechanism by which such rulings secure freedom for innocent
The DoJ under the Obama administration has also refused to conduct a
proper inquiry into alleged torture under the Bush administration and
has fought to prevent judges from hearing cases in which formerly
detained men seek redress for their abuse. As the rulings immunizing
torturers mount, we approach an absurd reality in which officials of
the U.S. government can torture people at will, with no recourse for
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“This record of inaction and wrongful action mocks the high-minded
tributes to justice carved in granite on the sides of the DoJ
headquarters where we have been holding vigils,” says Helen
Schietinger, DC resident and one of the Witness Against Torture
fasters. “This madness must stop.”
Activists will gather in orange jumpsuits and hoods at the
Constitution Ave entrance to the Department of Justice. They will
bring bread to the doors of the building with the intention of meeting
with Attorney General Holder.
For more on the fast and daily anti-torture protests, go to:
Who We Are: In December 2005, Witness Against Torture drew
international attention when its members walked to Guantánamo 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 Guantánamo.
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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.