6 years is too long… CLOSE GUANTANAMO

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The so-called “war on terror” has been an excuse for war, the loss of civil liberties and the erosion human rights. Tomorrow we see but one horrible example of this.Tomorrow will be the 6 year anniversary of the first arrival of political prisoners at Guantanamo Bay detention center. At this prison, detainees have no access to courts, no meaningful contact with their families and no prospect of being charged or tried. 

According to the American Civil Liberties Union website “Nearly 400 men have been held indefinitely and without charge at Guantanamo for as long as five years. The government has already released more than 300 men, and admits that approximately 100 of the current prisoners shouldn’t be there. Officials also admit that no more than a few dozen of them will ever be charged.”

A few facts about Guantanamo:

775 – approximate number of people detained at Guantanamo since Jan. 11, 2002

4 – number of detainees that have died in custody16 – age of Yasser Talal Al Zahrani, one of those four when he was captured

0 – number of completed trials

5 – years that Omar Kahdr has been held at Guantanamo

15 – age that Omar Kahdr was when he entered Guantanamo

¼ – amount of his life Omar Kahdr has spent held at Guantanamo

13 – age of youngest person held at Guantanamo

98 – age of oldest person held at Guantanamo55 – Percentage of detainees determined not to have committed any hostile acts against the U.S. (All the above numbers from the ACLU website: http://www.aclu.org/safefree/detention )

So tomorrow I will join with Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union and other people of conscience in wearing orange to symbolize our commitment to close Guantanamo! (Orange, the color of the jumpsuits worn by the first Guantanamo detainees in photographs released by the Department of Defense in 2002, was chosen to represent torture tactics and prisoner abuse.)

What can you do?

·         Educate yourself; visit the following websites for a start:

     o   The ACLU:  http://www.aclu.org/pdfs/safefree/closegitmo 

     o   Amnesty International: http://www.amnesty.org/ 

     o   Human Rights Watch: http://www.hrw.org/doc?t=usa_gitmo

·         Spread the word – write a letter to the editor, a blog post, an editorial column in your local newspaper…

·         Wear orange tomorrow and tell everyone why

·         Host a speaker in your home, place of worship or with a community group to let people know what is going on

·         Organize a rally, vigil or other public event

·         Write congress and tell them to Close Guantanamo! (sample letters at the above websites)

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