WCW Home Take Action Videos & Reports of Demonstrations 1-25-18 Activists Demand Closure of Guantanamo Bay Detention Center
1-25-18 Activists Demand Closure of Guantanamo Bay Detention Center PDF Print E-mail
By Elaine Pasquini

Author and former national intelligence officer Mark Fallon calls for ending torture and closing the Guantanamo Bay detention center. [Staff photo Phil Pasquini]

Sixteen years after the opening of the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, 41 men—the majority of whom have never been charged with a crime, and 5 of whom have been cleared for release—remain incarcerated there.

On Jan. 11, human rights activists, torture survivors, Guantanamo attorneys, ex-military officials and members of diverse faith communities gathered in Lafayette Square in front of the White House calling for the closure of the facility, cessation of torture and the immediate release of cleared detainees.

Activists handed out flyers informing passersby that “Guantanamo remains a blight on the U.S. reputation and a provocation for hostility against us.”

“It is a credible shame for our democracy to have a prison like this,” said Rabbi Charles Feinberg, executive director of Interfaith Action for Human Rights. “It is a threat to our security; enrages those who are our true enemies, and, therefore, endangers Americans around the world.”

Amineh Safi, national government affairs coordinator for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), reminded the crowd of America’s core tenants of  “respect, dignity and justice” for all. “We ask God to help us speak the truth and implement justice regardless of who is the victim and who is the perpetrator,” she said.

Mark Fallon, former NCIS deputy assistant director for counterterrorism, former deputy commander of the Department of Defense task force established by President George W. Bush to bring suspected terrorists to justice before military commissions at Guantanamo, and author of Unjustifiable Means: The Inside Story of How the CIA, Pentagon and U.S. Government Conspired to Torture, bemoaned “our national policy of state-sponsored torture.”

“I am saddened at the injustice, torture and oppression I see going on at Guantanamo,” he said. “The prison should be shuttered, the rule of law restored and we should adhere to our obligations to hold those responsible accountable.”

Just hours before the rally, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and Reprieve, representing 11 detainees, filed a major challenge to Donald Trump’s continued detention of Guantanamo prisoners. The filing argues that continued detention is unconstitutional because any legitimate rationale for initially detaining these men has long since expired. CCR notes that Trump’s proclamation that he will not release any detainees during his administration reverses the approach and policies of both President Bush and President Barack Obama, who collectively released nearly 750 men. Unless the courts intervene now, Trump’s blanket policy guarantees three, or even seven, more years of imprisonment.

The Justice for Muslims Collective, Witness Against Torture and other human rights groups organized the noontime event.
Copyright © 2024 War Criminals Watch. All Rights Reserved.
War Criminals Watch is a project of World Can't Wait