Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"Close Guantánamo with Justice Now"

From Witness Against Torture press release:
Wikileaks files reveal corrupt system of detention
The hundreds of classified “Joint Task Force” documents distributed by Wikileaks to The New York Times, National Public Radio, The Telegraph, McClatchey and other news organizations confirm what critics of the detention camp at Guantánamo have long maintained: that men are detained there based on a patchwork of insinuations, Orwellian double-think, and pseudo-evidence contaminated by torture and an internal system that rewards detainees for speaking against their fellow captives. The prison should therefore be closed, with a fair judicial process – and not the notoriously unreliable assessments of the US military — used to weigh actual evidence in determining the fate of the detained men.

"The Wikileaks documents further reveal Guantánamo as a full systems failure that spans two administrations and implicates every branch of government,” says Matt Daloisio of Witness Against Torture. “If there is any hope to ending the Guantanamo nightmare, it must be found in a time tested system of law instead of fear-driven politics that has led the Congress, the Executive, and the Judiciary to imprison innocent men, justify cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and fail at holding anyone accountable."

While recording detainees’ minor transgressions of camp policy, the files make scant mention of the abuse — including physical torture — that many suffered at American hands. They describe as suicides the deaths in 2006 of three detained men that, independent evidence suggest, may have been the result of torture. And they reveal that the testimony of unreliable witnesses and informants has repeatedly been used to justify continued detentions.

“Internal assessments like these have been terribly unreliable, as case after case has shown, and as the high percentage of successful habeas challenges suggests,” says Jeremy Varon on Witness Against Torture. “It’s time to turn the page on this dreadful interrogation camp. It can never be reconciled with the law and the values Americans profess. It must close.”

Witness Against Torture demands:

* Close the prison at Guantánamo Bay;
* Free all prisoners who have been cleared for release, ensuring their safe resettlement and providing asylum in the U.S. for those unable to go elsewhere;
* Produce charges against all other prisoners and prosecute them in U.S. courts;
* Open all detention centers to outside scrutiny. That includes accepting the oversight of the International Committee of the Red Cross of all facilities; and
* Conduct a comprehensive criminal inquiry against all those who designed and carried out torture policies under the Bush administration.

... In December 2005, Witness Against Torture drew international attention when its members walked to Guantánamo Bay to protest at the prison. Since its return, the group has organized vigils, marches, nonviolent direct actions, and educational events opposing torture and calling for the close of Guantánamo.

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