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Witness Against Torture Statement: Guantanamo Turns 21

As the illegal U.S. prison at Guantanamo enters its third decade of existence on January 11, Witness Against Torture will hold vigil at a White House rally at 1 pm Wednesday. We demand that the U.S. Government close Guantanamo and bring justice for Guantanamo survivors.

We call on the U.S. public to remember the men who suffer in Guantanamo, those who have died there, and those still suffering after their release. Since 2005, Witness Against Torture has called out their names and lifted up their words in the DC corridors of power.

Most of the 780 Muslim men and boys brought to Guantanamo since 2002 were never charged or tried. Many were tortured and abused. 35 men remain in the prison. 20 of them have been cleared for release, yet they continue to languish. Others who have been released find themselves desperate and abandoned after their transfer.

The United States bears grave responsibility for the men’s predicament and must step forward to meet their needs. Furthermore, the U.S owes them and their families reparations for their unjust detention, torture, and suffering at U.S. hands.

Co-Sponsors of Wednesday’s rally include Amnesty International USA, Center for Constitutional Rights, Center for Victims of Torture, CODEPINK, Muslim Counterpublics Lab, National Religious Campaign Against Torture, Rehumanize International, September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, and Witness Against Torture.

Further information:

From Andy Worthington:

Free The Guantánamo 20: Events Marking the 21st Anniversary of the Opening of the Prison

The 20 men approved for release from Guantánamo but still held, an image put together by Andy Worthington for the Close Guantánamo campaign.

Jan. 11, 2023

12 noon-1pm Eastern time: Guantánamo at Twenty-One – What is the Future of the Prison Camp? With Thomas Wilner, Karen Greenberg and Andy Worthington
An online panel discussion hosted by New America in Washington, D.C. Thomas Wilner was Counsel of Record to the Guantánamo prisoners in their Supreme Court cases in 2004 and 2008, and Karen Greenberg is the Director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School.
Register here.

1pm Eastern time: Close Guantánamo Rally at the White House
Organized by Witness Against Torture and the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.
The Facebook page is here.

7-8pm GMT: Close Gitmo Twitter Storm
Initiated by CAGE. Details here.

8-9pm GMT: Guantánamo at 21: Mansoor Adayfi and Andy Worthington Discuss the Prison’s Closure
An online panel put together for the UK Guantánamo Network, which consists of members of a number of Amnesty International groups, Close Guantánamo, the Guantánamo Justice Campaign, the London Guantánamo Campaign and Freedom From Torture. Former prisoner Mansoor Adayfi is the author of the acclaimed memoir “Don’t Forget Us Here: Lost and Found at Guantánamo.”
The Zoom link for the event is here.

4-5.30pm Eastern time: Building our Power to Close Guantánamo
A virtual rally organised by the Center for Constitutional Rights, Amnesty International USA, the Center for Victims of Torture and the Muslim Counterpublics Lab.
Details here.

4-6pm Eastern time: Close Guantanamo NOW Rally, New York Public Library, 5th Avenue at 42nd Street, New York NY 10018
Organized by the World Can’t Wait and World Beyond War with Witness Against Torture and other groups. There will be numerous speakers in New York, and Andy Worthington will be speaking live by video link from London.
The Facebook page is here.

There are other rallies, in Los Angeles, in Northampton, MA., in Raleigh, North Carolina, in Berkeley, CA., in Augusta, Maine, in Cleveland, OH. and in Honolulu. Details are on the Witness Against Torture page here.

There is also a vigil at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City. Details here.

Jan. 14, 2023

11.30am-2.30pm, Guantánamo 21st Anniversary March and Vigil, London SW1
A march and rally organized by the UK Guantánamo Network, beginning at Old Palace Yard from 11.30am, followed by a march up Whitehall to the North Terrace of Trafalgar Square, by the National Gallery, where there will be speakers including Andy Worthington and others tbc at 2pm.

6pm: Guantánamo at 21 – Torture Comes of Age, London SW12
A CAGE event featuring former prisoner Moazzam Begg, and, by Zoom link from Morocco, former prisoners Ahmed Errachidi and Abdul Latif Nasser (released in July 2021).
Register here.

For further actions, if you’re in the U.S., please consider writing to President Biden and to your elected representatives. You can send a message to the White House here, and you can find your Senators here, and your Representatives here.

You can also, wherever you are in the world, take a photo with our poster marking 7,671 days of Guantánamo’s existence on Wednesday (Jan. 11), and send it to us. We’ll be posting the photos on a new page on our website, and also sharing them on social media.

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