Media Advistory: Activists to Mark Day 100 of Guantanamo Hunger Strike on Friday

Hunger Strike Response // Film

MEDIA ADVISORY: May 15, 2013

CONTACT: Gabe Cahn, Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications
gabe@rabinowitz-dorf.com, office: 202-265-3000, cell: 425-269-5541

FRIDAY, MAY 17 at White House: Day 100 Vigil for Guantanamo Hunger Strike
Coalition of activists to rally, deliver 300,000 petitions to pressure Obama to close Guantanamo

WASHINGTON – To mark the 100th day of the mass hunger strike at Guantanamo, a coalition of human rights activists will hold a vigil in front of the White House on Friday, May 17. In addition to public speakers and protestors in orange jumpsuits bringing attention to human rights violations and indefinite detention at the detention center at Guantanamo, the groups will deliver 300,000 petition signatures calling for the detention facility to be closed down. On April 30, President Obama recommitted himself and his administration to shutting down Guantanamo. On Friday, the detainee hunger strike will have breached the 100 day mark.

What: Day 100 Vigil urging President Obama to fulfill his promise to close Guantanamo. Speakers and activists in orange jumpsuits will call on President Obama to:

– Move forward with transferring cleared detainees out of the detention facility under the certification process and waiver provision put in place by Congress
– Appoint a high level position in the White House to lead the effort of closing the detention facility
– Make the case to Congress and the American people for removing the remaining transfer restrictions and closing the detention facility
– Ensure that all detainees are either charged and fairly tried in federal court, or released to countries that will respect their human rights

Who: A non-partisan coalition of human rights and civil liberties organizations, including:
• Amnesty International
• National Religious Campaign Against Torture
• Center for Constitutional Rights
• Witness Against Torture
• Code Pink

When: Friday May 17, 12-1p.m.

Where: Washington D.C., outside the White House (Lafayette Square side)

Why: After 100 days of hunger strikes and more than 11 years of indefinite detention, it’s long past time for President Obama to get serious about closing Guantanamo.

“Amnesty International USA activists will be protesting outside the White House on Day 100 of the hunger strike to send the message that President Obama needs to close Guantanamo now,” said Jiva Manske, field organizer for Amnesty International USA, Mid-Atlantic, from Amnesty’s Washington, D.C. office, “The detainees’ situation must urgently be resolved, in a manner that respects their dignity and human rights. Death shouldn’t be the only way out of Guantanamo.”

“Years of detention without charge or trial have created a sense of desperation and hopelessness among the men at Guantanamo that has led over 100 to join a hunger strike,” said Rev. Richard Killmer, executive director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. “The human crisis in Guantanamo is a moral one that needs to end immediately. The faith community calls on the President to close Guantanamo. It is the right thing to do.”

“The hunger strikers in Guantanamo have unleashed an avalanche of sympathy around the world, and disgust for the Obama administration’s policy,” explained Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CodePink and author of Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control. “It’s time for Obama—the commander-in-chief and the most powerful man in the world—to stop blaming Congress and muster the moral courage to close the prison and end this shameful chapter in U.S. history.”

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Human Rights Groups Organize Vigil at White House to Mark 100th Day of Hunger Strike at Guantanamo

Hunger Strike Response // Film

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 17, 2013

CONTACT: Gabe Cahn, Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications
gabe@rabinowitz-dorf.com, office: 202-265-3000, cell: 425-269-5541

Human Rights Groups Organize Vigil at White House to Mark 100th Day of Hunger Strike at Guantanamo
Activists in D.C. deliver more than 360,000 petition signatures, pressure Obama to keep his promise to close the detention facility

WASHINGTON – Today, on the 100th day of the hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay, and amid growing pressure on the Obama Administration to close the facility once and for all, activists held a vigil outside the White House to bring awareness to the injustice of more than 11 years of unlawful and indefinite detention. Coalition events also were held in London, New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit and London.
Continue reading Human Rights Groups Organize Vigil at White House to Mark 100th Day of Hunger Strike at Guantanamo

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Activists Pressure to Close Guantanamo as Hunger Strike Escalates and Senator Feinstein Calls for Restart of Transfers from the Prison

Hunger Strike Response // Film

Protests in DC, Chicago, NY – April 29 Global Fast to “Save Shaker” – Calls to SouthCom – Rolling Fast

April 26:  With the US military now acknowledging 94 hunger strikers at Guantanamo, Senator Diane Feinstein (D-California; Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee) has called on President Obama to restart the transfers of prisoners “cleared for release” to their homelands or third countries and urged removing the blanket ban on the repatriation of Yemeni prisoners.  Responding to this dramatic development and the escalating hunger strike, US activists are intensifying their pressure on the Obama administration to resolve the hunger strike in a humane fashion and take decisive action toward closing the prison.
Continue reading Activists Pressure to Close Guantanamo as Hunger Strike Escalates and Senator Feinstein Calls for Restart of Transfers from the Prison

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12 Arrested in Die-In at NYC Federal Courthouse, Say “Shut Down Guantanamo, End Indefinite Detention”

Hunger Strike Response // Film

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Press Release: April 22, 2013

Contact: Jeremy Varon, 732-979-3119; jvaron@aol.com
Matt Daloisio, 201-264-4424; daloisio@earthlink.net
Witness Against Torture: www.witnesstorture.org

Arrests at Federal Courthouse in NYC as
Hunger Strike at Guantanamo Widens

Arrests
Click here for more photos.

New York City, April 22: Responding to reports that 84 men — more than half of those imprisoned at the US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay — are hunger striking to protest their indefinite detention, 12 concerned citizens with Witness Against Torture were arrested at approximately 3pm in a “die-in” on the steps of the Federal Courthouse at Manhattan’s Foley Square (40 Centre Street).
Continue reading 12 Arrested in Die-In at NYC Federal Courthouse, Say “Shut Down Guantanamo, End Indefinite Detention”

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As Hunger Strike Enters Third Month 25 Prominent Human Rights Organizations Pen Letter to Obama Urging Swift Closure of Guantánamo

Hunger Strike Response // Film

Contact: Jen Nessel, Center for Constitutional Rights, +1.212.614.6449, press@ccrjustice.org
Matthew Harwood, American Civil Liberties Union, +1.202.715.0834, media@dcaclu.org
Brad Robideau, Center for Victims of Torture, +1.612.436.4886, brobideau@cvt.org
Brenda Bowser Soder, Human Rights First, 202.370.3323, bowsersoderb@humanrightsfirst.org

As Hunger Strike Enters Third Month 25 Prominent Human Rights Organizations Pen Letter to Obama Urging Swift Closure of Guantánamo

April 11, 2013, New York and Washington, D.C. – Today, 25 prominent human rights and civil liberties organizations sent a joint letter to President Obama urging the swift closure of Guantánamo and steps to end the hunger strike legally and humanely and end more than 11 years of indefinite detention. The organizations include the Center for Constitutional Rights, American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, Center for Victims of Torture, CEJIL, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, International Federation for Human Rights, National Lawyers Guild, and Physicians for Human Rights. Today also marked a national emergency day of action to close Guantánamo, with events planned by several of the groups in 26 cities and 19 states.
Continue reading As Hunger Strike Enters Third Month 25 Prominent Human Rights Organizations Pen Letter to Obama Urging Swift Closure of Guantánamo

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As Guantánamo Hunger Strike Continues, Activists Rally Nationwide for “Day of Action to Close Guantánamo & End Indefinite Detention”

Hunger Strike Response // Film

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:

Jeremy Varon, Witness Against Torture, jvaron@aol.com, 732.979.3119

Chris Knestrick, Witness Against Torture Chicago, cknest11@gmail.com, 216.496.2637

Malachy Kilbride, Witness Against Torture DC, malachykilbride@yahoo.com, 571.501.3729

Jen Nessel, Center for Constitutional Rights, press@ccrjustice.org, 212-614-6449

Gabe Cahn, Amnesty International, gabe@rabinowitz-dorf.com, 202-265-3000, cell: 425-269-5541

As Guantánamo Hunger Strike Continues, Activists Rally Nationwide for “Day of Action to Close Guantánamo & End Indefinite Detention”

Protests in D.C., NYC, Chicago, San Francisco, and Over 26 Cities Pressure Obama to Close the Prison

April 11, 2013, New York and Washington, D.C. – As the hunger strike of men detained at the U.S. prison at Guantánamo began its third month, activists organized emergency rallies in over 26 cities and 19 states across the United States for a national “Day of Action to Close Guantánamo & End Indefinite Detention.”  From New York City to San Francisco, Durham to Los Angeles, Witness Against Torture, Amnesty International, the Center for Constitutional Rights, World Can’t Wait, and other groups demanded the closure of Guantánamo. The actions came on a day that 25 prominent human rights and civil liberties organizations sent a joint letter to President Obama urging the closure of Guantánamo. <!–more–>

Said organizers of the protests, “The vast majority of the 166 men still trapped at Guantánamo have been held for more than 11 years without charge or fair trial. The Obama administration must take swift measures to humanely address the immediate causes of the hunger strike and fulfill its promise to close the Guantánamo detention facility.”

The coalition urged President Obama to fulfill his promise to close Guantánamo and called on him to:

·         Direct Secretary of Defense Charles Hagel to use his authority to issue the certifications or national security waivers required by the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA 2013) to effect transfers from Guantánamo;

·         Appoint an individual within the White House to lead the effort to close Guantánamo;

·         Make the case to Congress and the American people for removing the remaining transfer restrictions and closing the detention facility;  and

·         Ensure that all detained men are either charged and fairly tried in criminal court, or released to countries that will respect their human rights.

Demonstrations took place across the country, all accompanied by activists dressed in orange jumpsuits to represent the men detained at Guantánamo. In Washington, D.C., activists and speakers, including Pratap Chaterjee from the Board of Directors of Amnesty International USA, rallied in front of the White House. In New York, activists rallied in Times Square where speakers included Pardiss Kebriaei, Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, who just returned from visiting clients detained at Guantánamo, and Rachel Ward, Director of US Programs for Amnesty International USA.

Pardiss Kebriaei, Center for Constitutional Rights Senior Attorney, said, “I have just returned from visiting my clients at Guantánamo, and the situation there is dire. The immediate emergency, triggered by searches of the men’s Qur’ans, never should have happened given the long history of Qur’an desecration and religious abuse at the prison. But there is another emergency that is about the indefinite detention of men who will never be charged, more than half of whom have been approved for transfer. One of my clients said to me, ‘The silence of the government is what is killing us.’ It should not take another man dying for the Obama administration to realize that it cannot afford to continue wasting time by laying blame on Congress and justifying its own inaction in closing the prison. If ever there were a time to act, it is now.”

Zeke Johnson, Director of Amnesty International USA’s Security with Human Rights Campaign, said, “Death shouldn’t be the only way out of Guantánamo. The men must either be charged and fairly tried in federal court, or be released.”  In response to the hunger strikes he added, “There are even detainees cleared to leave that remain stuck in limbo – people like Shaker Aamer, cleared under both President Bush and President Obama, and whom the UK government wants released. It’s time for President Obama to get serious about closing the detention facility. Even with the Congressional restrictions on transfers, detainees can still be moved out under the certification process and the waiver provision that Congress put in place.”

Jeremy Varon, of Witness Against Torture, said: “The hunger strike at Guantánamo is the latest, tragic reminder that Guantánamo must close. Keeping men there indefinitely without charge or trial, even when they are deemed no threat by the US government itself is morally unacceptable and politically unsustainable. The Guantánamo nightmare must end now.”

For a complete list of the day’s events, see www.witnesstorture.org/events.

To learn more about the hunger strike, see http://bit.ly/GTMOHungerStrikeAction.

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As Men at Guantánamo Hunger Strike, Human Rights Activists Respond with Fast and Demonstrations

Hunger Strike Response // Film

For Immediate Release: March 26, 2013
Witness Against Torture (www.witnesstorture.org)

Contact: Jeremy Varon, 732-979-3119, jvaron@aol.com; Christopher Knestrick, 216-496-2637, cknest11@gmail.com

On Sunday, March 24 human rights activists throughout the United States began a seven day fast and series of actions in solidarity with the men currently on hunger strike at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Dozens of men, according to detainee lawyers, are entering their seventh week of a hunger strike to protest their indefinite detention and a new wave of alleged abuses. The U.S. Navy now reports that three hunger strikers have been hospitalized and that ten are being force fed — a practice condemned by human rights organizations and used in efforts to “break” prior hunger strikes at Guantanamo. Attorneys also report that some hunger strikers have lost consciousness and are experiencing severe drops in body weight.
Continue reading As Men at Guantánamo Hunger Strike, Human Rights Activists Respond with Fast and Demonstrations

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More Than Thirty Anti-Torture Activists Arrested at White House

Fast for Justice 2012 // Film

Message to Obama: No Guantánamo, No Bagram, No NDAA!

Oona Grady is Arrested

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Thirty-five members of Witness Against Torture were arrested in front of the White House on Thursday, January 12 around three this afternoon. Dressed in the iconic Guantánamo orange jumpsuits and black hoods and accompanied by a cage representing indefinite detention, the activists were warned to clear the sidewalk by National Park Police or risk arrest. After occupying the sidewalk for more than three hours, they were arrested one by one.
Continue reading More Than Thirty Anti-Torture Activists Arrested at White House

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Over Fifty Citizens on Ten-Day Fast for Justice Carry Guantánamo Cell to President Obama’s Front Door

Fast for Justice 2012 // Film

Activists Commit to Maintaining a 92-hour Vigil Until January 11, Tenth Anniversary of Guantánamo

WAT Cage at the White House

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The specter of an orange clad, black hooded human being cowering behind iron bars is drawing a lot of attention at the White House this week. On Saturday, January 7, members of Witness Against Torture carried a reproduction of a Guantánamo cell over barricades surrounding Lafayette Park and deployed it in front of the White House.
Continue reading Over Fifty Citizens on Ten-Day Fast for Justice Carry Guantánamo Cell to President Obama’s Front Door

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Trial Ends for 14 Anti-Torture Activists

Fast for Justice 2012 // Film

1 acquitted, 3 found guilty by a jury, charges dropped against 9
Jury Continues to Deliberate on One Case; Sentencing Statements Tomorrow

WAT Activists Outside the Moultrie Courthouse

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Three members of Witness Against Torture were found guilty in a jury trial at D.C. Superior Court on January 5, 2012. The jury brought back guilty verdicts in the cases of defendants Brian Hynes of the Bronx, NY, Mike Levinson of New Rochelle, NY, and Carmen Trotta of New York City, NY. By the end of the day on Thursday, the jury remained “truly deadlocked” on the case of defendant Judith Kelly of Arlington, Virginia.
Continue reading Trial Ends for 14 Anti-Torture Activists

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