Midcoast Peace & Justice Group
committed to positive change through non-violent action
Friday, May 10 All Day (24 Hour Fast)
Global Hunger Strike: Justice for Guantanamo Prisoners!
On the day that you fast:
Call the Department of Defense: 703 571‑3343 Send a message to Secretary of Defense Charles Hagel
Call the U.S. Southern Command: 305 437‑1213
Members of the Midcoast Peace & Justice Group plan to support CODEPINK's Call for Action for a 24‑Hour Fast to Support Justice for Guantanamo Prisoners and ask other members of our community to join us.
A May 10 vigil is also planned in Belfast: The vigil will take place from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the corner of High and Main Streets in downtown Belfast and is sponsored by the Peace and Justice Group of Waldo County.
We agree with CODEPINK that
“The situation at the prison in Guantamamo is at a crisis point.”
Over 100 of the 166 prisoners left in Guantanamo are on a hunger strike. Many are being brutally force-fed. The United Nations Human Rights Commission considers the practice of force-feeding–in which detainees are strapped to a restraining chair, have tubes pushed up their nostrils and liquids pumped down their throats–a clear form of torture. One detainee said the process felt like a “razor blade [going] down through your nose and into your throat.” Prisoner Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel said, “I had never experienced such pain before. I would not wish this cruel punishment upon anyone.” (from CODEPINK website)
President of the American Medical Association, Dr. Jeremy Lazarus, has called force feeding unethical and inhumane. “The administration cannot force feed its way out of this growing medical emergency,” he said. (from CODEPINK website)
Of the 166 prisoners, 86 have been cleared for release and must be released. The last time a prisoner left Guantanamo was September 2012. Fifty-seven of the cleared detainees are from Yemen and the present government – a US ally – wants these men returned home. One cleared detainee is a British citizen, Shaker Aamer. He has been cleared for release twice, but is still behind bars after 11 years. Kuwaiti prisoner Fouzi Al Awda, has been held for 11 years while the Kuwaiti government, another US ally, has repeatedly called for his repatriation.
President Obama still has the power to transfer men right now. He should use the certification/waiver process created by Congress to transfer detainees. According to the ACLU, there are two essential first steps the president must take. One is to appoint a senior point person so that the administration's Guantanamo closure policy is directed by the White House and not by Pentagon bureaucrats. The president can also order the secretary of defense to start certifying for transfer detainees who have been cleared, which is more than half the Guantanamo population.
Together with CODEPINK and other organizations in America and throughout the world, we call on President Obama to release the 86 prisoners who have been cleared for release, formally charge and try the remaining prisoners in fair and open proceedings, and close the shameful prison in Guantanamo – as he promised to do when he ran for office.
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