MEDIA ADVISORY: May 15, 2013
CONTACT: Gabe Cahn, Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications
firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.”