Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Activists Bring Plight of Guantánamo Prisoners to Federal Court

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Activists Bring Plight of Guantánamo Prisoners to Federal Court

Article excerpt

ACTIVISTS marked the fifth anniversary of the opening of the U.S. prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba by forcing the names of the prisoners into the federal court system on Jan. 11 in Washington, DC. Eighty-nine Witness Against Torture (WAT) activists entered the federal court and filed habeas corpus petitions on behalf of the men held at Guantánamo Bay.

Most dressed in T-shirts saying "Shut Down Guantánamo" and "Stop Torture" and assumed the identity of a man still held in Guantánamo. The action occurred five years to the day after the first prisoners were transferred to Guantánamo.

"In five long years these men have never been given the right to a day in court. The only way to get their names and stories into the court was to bring them there ourselves," said WAT activist Frida Berrigan, one of 89 arrested by U.S. Marshals.

Activists had entered the building throughout the morning to submit their petitions and stayed to read the names of all Guantánamo prisoners and accounts of their torture and illegal imprisonment. While inside, they managed to drop banners reading "Shut Down Guantánamo" from balconies in the court atrium.

Many of those arrested will continue their resistance by being processed in the name of Guantánamo prisoners.

Meanwhile, more than 500 people marched from the Supreme Court to the federal courthouse, 200 of them in orange jumpsuits and hoods. …

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