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catholic Workers March on Guantanamo

category international | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Tuesday December 06, 2005 20:17author by CW Report this post to the editors

U.S. Christians March on Guantanamo to visit Prisoners on Hunger Strike

In this posting:
1. Announcement of “Witness Against Torture” and call to action
2. Press Release
3. Letter to Friends and Activists

1. Announcement of “Witness Against Torture” and call to action:

U.S. Christians March on Guantanamo to visit Prisoners on Hunger Strike

Take Action to Stop the Torture, Abuse & Illegal Detentions

Please forward this information to your friends, families, organizations and other contacts.

Twenty-five U.S. Christians in the nonviolent tradition of Dorothy Day and the catholic Worker are setting out from Santiago, Cuba today (Dec. 6) on a solemn 50-mile march to Guantanamo Bay. They seek to “defend human dignity” by visiting with the hundreds of detainees who have been held for more than three years under horrific conditions by the U.S. government. The group plans to arrive outside the gates of the U.S. naval base and prison complex on Guantanamo Bay on December 10, International Human Rights Day.

Participants in the group include a Jesuit Priest, Steve Kelly, a catholic Nun, Sr. Anne Montgomery, Frida Berrigan, daughter of the late antiwar activist Phil Berrigan, and representatives of a number of catholic Worker Communities. They are requesting entry into the compound to visit and interview the detainees as a “work of mercy” in keeping with their faith. If refused, as United Nations inspectors were just two weeks ago, they will hold a fast in solidarity and a vigil to pray for the immediate abolition of torture by all nations.


Take Action!

Sign-on to a letter to President George W. Bush, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and Guantanamo Naval Base Commanding Officer Mark M. Leary, requesting that the marchers be allowed to visit those incarcerated in the Guantanamo Bay prison: http://www.witnesstorture.org/signletter


Organize a solidarity vigil to End Torture and Illegal Detentions on International Human Rights Day, this Saturday, December 10. Register your vigil online at http://www.witnesstorture.org/events. Call your local media outlets to let them know.


Donate to this effort at http://www.witnesstorture.org/donate


To stay informed, download factsheets and flyers, and read the marchers’ online blogs, visit http://www.witnesstorture.org



2. Press Release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 6, 2005

CONTACT: Witness Against Torture
Mike McGuire 347-683-4928

press@witnesstorture.org


U.S. Christians March on Guantanamo to visit Prisoners on Hunger Strike



“Witness Against Torture” Implores U.S. Military to Allow Access So They Can Perform Work of Mercy: Bringing Comfort to Prisoners


Santiago, Cuba – Twenty-five Christians in the nonviolent tradition of Dorothy Day and the catholic Worker arrived in Cuba last evening and plan to set out from Santiago today on a solemn fifty-mile march to the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. They seek to “defend human dignity” by visiting with the hundreds of detainees who have been held for more than three years under horrific conditions by the U.S. government.

“As a Christian, I feel compelled to reach out across national boundaries to perform one of the most basic acts of faith— as described in the gospel of Matthew 25, I was in prison and you visited me,” explained catholic Worker Matthew Daloisio. “We want our fellow Americans to see the shameful acts of torture and abuse taking place in this and other illegal prisons hidden across the globe. We pray that others will join us in urging our government to allow us to perform this act of Christian faith.”

Participants in the group include a Jesuit Priest, Steve Kelly, a catholic Nun, Sr. Anne Montgomery, Frida Berrigan, daughter of the late antiwar activist Phil Berrigan, and representatives of a number of catholic Worker Communities. The marchers plan to arrive outside the gates of the U.S. naval base and prison complex on Guantanamo Bay on December 10, International Human Rights Day.

They are requesting entry into the compound to visit and interview the detainees as a “work of mercy” in keeping with their faith. If refused, as United Nations inspectors were just two weeks ago, they will hold a fast in solidarity and a vigil to pray for the immediate abolition of torture by all nations.

A press conference at the St. Marks Church-on-the-Bowery will be held on December 7 to call on the U.S. Government to allow Witness Against Torture to visit the Guantanamo prisoners. Speakers will include Michael Ratner, head of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and CCR’s Gitanjali Gutierrez, the lead attorney for Guantanamo Bay detainees. CCR brought the landmark detainee right-to-trial case in which the Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Government had to allow federal hearings to determine the legal status of detainees. Ratner will explain how the Bush Administration has refused to comply with this ruling. Speakers will also include relatives of a Guantanamo Bay detainee now on hunger strike. Sister Diana Ortiz, a U.S. nun who was a victim of rape and torture in Guatemala, will be joined by anti-torture activist Jennifer Harberry, to speak of what it feels like to be a victim of torture.

A sign-on letter at http://www.witnesstorture.org will allow Americans to join their call.

# # #

3. Letter to Friends and Activists:

Dear Friends and Fellow Activists,

On December 5th, a group of us from the United States embarked on an 11-day journey to the Guantánamo Bay detention facility. We arrived in Santiago, Cuba to begin a five-day, 77+ mile walk to the Guantánamo base, where we hope to enter the detention facility to monitor the conditions and meet with both guards and prisoners. We plan to stay until at least December 15th to maintain a vigil outside the gates of the base, having a presence over International Human Rights Day on December 10.

It is our hope to be able to interview detainees about torture claims and hunger strikes at the base. We also seek to initiate a credible, objective and fair assessment of the situation of the detainees at the detention facility. We have lawyers and doctors on call to join us, should we be allowed in..

It was revealed in mid-November that the U.S. has detained more than 83,000 people in its four-year "war on terror" of which 14,500 remain in jail. Some 108 are known to have died in U.S. custody, prompting 26 homicide investigations.

Guantánamo is the closest-to-home location of some of these detentions and alleged abuses. We believe that an ocean, or border, or travel restriction should not stop us from standing us for what is right.

While we are in Cuba, we have a press team working here in the U.S. to encourage media coverage of our walk and witness in order to keep the plight of the detainees at the forefront of the public’s mind.

To track our journey, see photos, access press releases, statements, and trip updates, please see http://www.witnesstorture.org This site will be updated regularly to keep you abreast of our journey.

There will be a sign-on letter on the website calling on the US government to stop violating the prisoners rights and to let us into the base. In June, President Bush countered questions about torture at Guantánamo and the United States' commitment to human rights by inviting members of the European Union to inspect the U.S. base at Guantánamo. He said, "you're welcome to go down there yourselves... and take a look at the conditions." We are hoping you will join in pressuring the Bush administration to let us answer its invitation by signing the letter and publicly supporting our request to be let into the base.

Feel free to forward this on to others as well.

In Peace,

Jackie Allen
Hartford catholic Worker

Matthew W. Daloisio
New York catholic Worker

Sr. Anne Montgomery, RSCJ
Kairos Community, NY

Related Link: http://www.witnesstorture.org

 #   Title   Author   Date 
   Additional Signatories to Above Statement on the March     CW    Tue Dec 06, 2005 20:26 
   Good luck     Mary Kelly    Tue Dec 06, 2005 23:23 
   From the Bowery to Guantanamo with Dorothy Day     Lawrence Downes    Thu Dec 08, 2005 18:18 


 
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