"I find it extremely hypocritical that Washington is investigating this group for the 'crime' of traveling to Cuba. The U.S. government is flagrantly violating even the most basic norms of human rights – such as indefinite detention without charges, denial of fair trials and, most importantly, torture." says Michael Ratner, the President of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which coordinates legal representation for many of the men held at the U.S. Base. "There are far greater crimes at play here than Witness Against Torture's travel logistics."
Go to the group's Web site for more photos and statements from the marchers.
A group of 25 U.S. Christians calling themselves Witness Against Torture marched 60 miles to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, this December to draw attention to the secretive U.S. prison.
Since 2002, the U.S. government has detained more than 700 prisoners at Guantánamo, dubbed by Amnesty International “the gulag of our time.”
Despite petitions and phone calls to the U.S. government, the group was not allowed to enter the prison. For three days, the group held vigil at the gates and fasted in solidarity with detainees hunger striking in protest of their living conditions and indefinite detention without trial.
Since shortly after the prison opened, groups of prisoners have engaged in waves of hunger strikes. In July, about 200 of the approximately 500 prisoners began refusing food, according to lawyers for some of the prisoners.
That strike ended at the end of the month, but prisoners again went on hunger strike on August 8, amid rumors of abuse by a guard. In December, the Defense Department announced that 46 detainees had joined the hungerstrike on Christmas Day, bringing the total number of current participants to 84. Some are being force-fed via nasaltubes.
In November, the UN special rapporteur on torture rejected a guided tour of the camp because he would not be allowed to interview detainees privately.
Elle McPherson is an intern at YES!