Madison groups are marking the tenth anniversary of the opening of the U.S. detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba next week. These local events are part of a national campaign to close Guantánamo.
TAKE ACTION TODAY: Join the ACLU in asking President Obama to keep his promise to close the prison camp by charging and trying the prisoners who are there, or sending them home.
- Tuesday, January 10, at 7 pm in the Predolin Hall auditorium, Edgewood College – “Guantánamo, Military Tribunals and the Rule of Law,” a discussion hosted by the United Nations Association of Dane County and Witness Against Torture – Madison. The evening begins with a screening of “The Response,” a courtroom drama based on transcripts of the Guantanamo military tribunals.
- Wednesday, January 11, at 7 pm at Mother Fool’s Coffeehouse, 1101 Williamson Street – Evening of action to close Guantánamo, including writing letters to policymakers and current detainees. Poetry written by detainees.
The first men arrived at the U.S. detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, on January 11, 2002. Of the 779 people who have been detained there over the years, only six have been convicted of any crime by a military tribunal. Most of the 171 remaining detainees were captured simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Most could leave tomorrow if the blanket ban on repatriations to Yemen were lifted.
This month also marks the third anniversary of President Obama’s Executive Order mandating the closure of the Guantánamo detention center within one year. Not only has the President failed to carry out the Order, he has extended some of the worst aspects of the Guantánamo system by continuing indefinite detentions without charge or trial, employing illegitimate military commissions to try some suspects, and blocking accountability for torture by refusing to conduct independent and thorough investigations, and by attempting to prevent the courts from reviewing lawsuits brought by formerly detained men.
As the tenth anniversary of Guantánamo approaches, the number of experts calling for its closure is growing. Five former U.S. Secretaries of State – including Henry Kissinger, Madeline Albright and Colin Powell – concur that closing down the prison camp would be a major step towards repairing the U.S. image abroad. Even George W. Bush has said he would “like Guantánamo to end.”
Read today’s op-ed in the Capitol Times from Rabbi Laurie Zimmerman of Madison’s Congregation Shaarei Shamayim on why Gitmo must be closed.
Lakhdar Boumediene reflected in Sunday’s New York Times on that anniversary and tells the harrowing tale of the seven and a half years he spent imprisoned in Guantánamo Bay. Read more on the ACLU’s Blog of Rights.