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Witness Against Torture

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Before the Dawn

Mohamedou Slahi photo: International Committee of the Red CrossMohamedou Slahi photo: International Committee of the Red Cross

Each year, throughout the Muslim world, believers participate in the month-long Ramadan fast. Here in Kabul, where I’m a guest of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, our household awakens at 2:15 a.m. to prepare a simple meal before the fast begins at about 3:00 a.m. I like the easy companionship we feel, seated on the floor, sharing our food. Friday, the day off, is household clean-up day, and it seemed a bit odd, to be sweeping and washing floors in the pre-dawn hours, but we tended to various tasks and then caught a nap before heading over to meet the early bird students at the Street Kids School, a project my hosts are running for child laborers who otherwise couldn’t go to school.

Anti-Guantánamo Activists Praise Bergdahl-Guantánamo Prisoner Exchange

New York City — Activists from Witness Against Torture support the release of five men from Guantánamo to monitored residence in Qatar in exchange for the American POW Bowe Bergdahl. While freeing an American captive, the exchange advances the important goals of closing Guantánamo and helping Afghanistan achieve peace after the planned withdrawal of most US forces. The US must now expedite the release of the 78 detained men already cleared for transfer, plan for the transfer of others, and find a just resolution to the fate of all the men held at Guantánamo.

Activists Occupy National Museum of American History

Vowing to “Make Guantanamo History,” human rights advocates from around the country marked the beginning of the thirteenth year of torture and indefinite detention at the prison camp with a dramatic protest at the National Museum of American History. 150 activists occupied the atrium of the crowded museum for more than two hours, speaking out against torture and calling for Guantanamo to close.

Hunger strike reinvigorates movement to close Guantánamo

Protest outside the military recruiting center in Times Square. (Witness Against Torture)Protest outside the military recruiting center in Times Square. (Witness Against Torture)

By Jake Olzen
Originally posted at Waging Nonviolence

In the aftermath of the Boston bombings, it is quite shocking that the renewed vigor to close Guantánamo has found the footing that it has. Even though many of the terrible myths started by the Bush administration’s War on Terror rhetoric linger, especially regarding the so-called “worst of the worst” at Guantánamo, Boston Globe columnist James Carroll recently added his name to the growing list of citizens and institutions calling for an end to America’s most infamous gulag. Carroll wrote that “if Americans want this spectacle to end — if they want to tell Congress and President Obama that Guantánamo must be shut down — now is the time for them to make their voices heard. But how?”

The situation is stark and quickly deteriorating with more than 130 of the prison’s 166 detainees on hunger strike in protest of their treatment. The hunger strike, according to Leili Kashani from the Center for Constitutional Rights, is a very grave situation; men are experiencing irreversible harm and approaching death.

President Obama: Close Detention Facility at Guantanamo Bay


Petition by
Morris Davis
Gainesville, VA

I served 25 years in the US Air Force, I was the Chief Prosecutor for the Terrorism Trials at Guantanamo Bay for more than two years, and now I need your help.

I personally charged Osama Bin Laden’s driver Salim Hamdan, Australian anathema David Hicks, and Canadian teen Omar Khadr. All three were convicted … and then they were released from Guantanamo. More than 160 men who have never been charged with any offense, much less convicted of a war crime, remain at Guantanamo with no end in sight. There is something fundamentally wrong with a system where not being charged with a war crime keeps you locked away indefinitely and a war crime conviction is your ticket home.

Global Days of Action to Shut Down Guantanamo!

Friday, May 17, 2013
4:00-6:00
Federal Plaza
50 W. Adams St., Chicago, Illinois 60604

May 17 will be 100th day of the Guantanamo Hunger strike, in which of 13O have been protesting their immoral indefinite detention by the U.S. government. To mark this date, the London Guantanamo Campaign has called for Global Days of Action on May 17th-May 19th to support the Guantanamo hunger strikers and demand that it be shut down now. Here in Chicago we will meet at Federal Plaza on May 17 at 4 P.M. for a brief rally and then hold a procession of people in orange jumpsuits and black hoods, which have come to symbolize the crime that is Guantanamo and to symbolize our solidarity with those being held there. We will have posters of those who have been cleared for release as we process up State Street to Daley Plaza where we will read poems from Guantanamo prisoners and place the photos at the Eternal Flame. Please message us if you wish to wear an orange jump suit. The Chicago Coalition to Shut Down Guantanamo includes Chicago World Can’t Wait, Witness Against Torture, White Rose, Voices for Creative Non Violence, Illinois Coalition Against Torture, Chicago Free the Cuban 5, and individuals.

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


http://witnesstorture.org/blog/2013/04/22/12-arrested-in-die-in-at-nyc-federal-courthouse/

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

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).

Those arrested, some in orange jumpsuits and black hoods, held signs with names of the men who have already died under US custody at the prison. Fearing that more prisoners could die soon, the protesters are demanding that immediate measures be taken by the Obama administration to close the prison.

Gitmo Is Killing Me By Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel

Dear Friends:

This is perhaps the most important (and devastating) article about Guantanamo in quite some time. Please take a moment to read. And share. And act. (see links at bottom)

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Gitmo Is Killing Me
By SAMIR NAJI al HASAN MOQBEL
Published: April 14, 2013

GUANTÁNAMO BAY, Cuba

ONE man here weighs just 77 pounds. Another, 98. Last thing I knew, I weighed 132, but that was a month ago.

I’ve been on a hunger strike since Feb. 10 and have lost well over 30 pounds. I will not eat until they restore my dignity.

I’ve been detained at Guantánamo for 11 years and three months. I have never been charged with any crime. I have never received a trial.

I could have been home years ago — no one seriously thinks I am a threat — but still I am here. Years ago the military said I was a “guard” for Osama bin Laden, but this was nonsense, like something out of the American movies I used to watch. They don’t even seem to believe it anymore. But they don’t seem to care how long I sit here, either.

When I was at home in Yemen, in 2000, a childhood friend told me that in Afghanistan I could do better than the $50 a month I earned in a factory, and support my family. I’d never really traveled, and knew nothing about Afghanistan, but I gave it a try.

Reflection from the road

On day 50 of the Guantanamo hunger strike and day 6 of a Witness Against Torture fast in solidarity with prisoners in Guantanamo, I’m on a bus traveling a mountain highway in Virginia. Spring colors, muted yet certain, emerge across fields and valleys. Distant blue peaks shadow farms where cows and horses graze. The scenery is picturesque and pastoral. A week ago, aboard a train to West Virginia, I stared at towns marked by a sad, strong contrast. The train passed through Appalachian towns. Collapsed houses, abandoned lots and blighted neighborhoods reminded me of war zones.

Guantanamo Fast in Afghanistan

by the Afghan Peace Volunteers

“I fasted because I wanted to share their pain in a tiny way.” Khamad

“As I was giving my room a new coat of paint, I knew that the prisoners at Guantanamo are not free to paint their cells.” Abdulhai

“I felt that no one should have to go hungry.” Zekerullah

“I did this today for people who are complete strangers to me, but who are as human as me.” Nao Rozi

“Why should people have to suffer and experience torture even if they were guilty?” Barath Khan