ANTI-TORTURE ACTIVISTS TO GO ON TRIAL FOR SPEAKING OUT AGAINST GUANTANAMO, INDEFINITE DETENTION, AND THE NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT (NDAA)
DEFENDANTS TO PUT GUANTANAMO AND TORTURE ON TRIAL
A jury trial for five anti-torture activists begins on Tuesday, January 3, 2012 in D.C. Superior Court before Judge Fisher. They are charged with unlawful conduct in the citizen’s gallery at the House of Representatives on June 23, 2011, and face jail time if convicted.
“Our strategy is to put Guantanamo on trial,” says Josie Setzler, a human rights advocate and grandmother from Ohio, “and demand that Congress and the President close Guantanamo and restore the U.S. Constitution.” The press conference will discuss the court case and the larger issues of torture, Guantanamo, and the NDAA.
The defendants — Brian Hynes of the Bronx, NY, Judith Kelly of Washington, DC, Mike Levinson of New Rochelle, NY, Carmen Trotta of New York City, NY, and Josie Setzler of Freemont, Ohio—were among fourteen originally arrested and charged. All are members of Witness Against Torture, which will maintain a solemn presence of “detainees” in orange jumpsuits and blacks hoods outside the courthouse for the duration of the trial.
According to court documents, the case is known as “Shakir Ami (aka Bryan Hynes) et al Co-Defendants” — a garbled reference to Shaker Aamer, a British resident of Pakistani descent who is one of the longest-held men at Guantanamo. Witness Against Torture activists sometimes take the names of detainees when arrested, so as to symbolically give them the day in court denied by the Bush and Obama administrations.
The courthouse is located at 500 Indiana Avenue NW, near the Navy Archives Metro stop. Activists will fill the courtroom each day of the trial and hold vigil outside in the mornings, lunch time and evenings.
The trial kicks off a ten-day “Hungering for Justice” campaign which will include a daily presence at the Moultrie Courthouse, as well as activities throughout the city to call attention to the terrible injustice that is Guantanamo and Bagram and secret prisons throughout the world. It will culminate in a “Ten Years Too Many” mass mobilization on Wednesday, January 11 at Lafayette Park across from the White House organized by a coalition of groups, including Amnesty International and National Religious Campaign Against Torture. For more information, visit the groups website at: 2012.witnesstorture.org
Jerry Nelson is a nationally recognized photojournalist and adventure photographer. His work has appeared in many national, regional and local publications including CNN, USAToday, Upsurge, Earthwalkers and Associated Content and he is a regular contributor to Huffington Post as well as OpEdNews. Nelson travels the country seeking out the people, places and things that make America unique and great. Nelson currently is in Washington D.C. pointing his camera at OccupyDC and freelancing for The Washington Times the second largest paper in the nation’s capital.
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