World Marks GTMO’s Sixth Year
January 11th marks six years of imprisonment for the more than 300 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. Last year on Law and Disorder we had taken listeners through a brief history of the Guantanamo Bay Prison, how they got there and what it means for civil liberties in the United States. We continue to examine the civil liberties issues and we’ll look at how attorneys and activists are involved in getting prisoners released.
Hosts Update: Settlement on Use of Central Park’s Great Lawn – Congratulations to NLG members Mara Verheyden-Hilliard and Carl Messineo in this important victory for the First Amendment in NYC! In addition to rescinding the rule limiting public events on the Great Lawn, the National Council of Arab Americans and ANSWER will each receive $25K and the City will reimburse $500,000 in attorneys costs and fees.
Hosts remember Philip Agee, the former Central Intelligence Agency officer who turned against the agency and spent years exposing undercover American spies overseas, passed away at his home in Havana last week.
Amnesty International Leading Worldwide Rallies and Demonstrations
Many organizations and activists are staging powerful demonstrations this week protesting the sixth anniversary of the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay and demanding the release of the men held there. Protesters will again don masks and the trademark orange suits associated with the prisoners and shuffle through public spaces.
Guest – Jumana Musa, a human rights attorney and activist. She is currently the Advocacy Director for Domestic Human Rights and International Justice at Amnesty International, where she addresses the domestic and international impact of the Bush administration’s “war on terror” on human rights. She has also served as Amnesty International’s legal observer at military commission proceedings at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Though this sixth anniversary is a day of acknowledgment of the illegal imprisonment and torture of prisoners in Guantanamo, it also a call on governments across the world to lobby for the release of their residents. About 100 Yemenis are being held at Guantanamo, making them the biggest group among the approximately 275 detainees there, according to Yemen’s media.
A conference held in Yemen this week is aiming to secure the release of more Yemeni prisoners from Guantanamo. The conference is encouraging a wide coalition of religious leaders, NGOs and family members of prisoners to press for the release of the men. Since 2002, 12 Yemeni prisoners have been released from Guantanamo Bay prison. More than a third of Guantanamo prisoners are from Yemen. Yemen is on the Arabian Peninsula in Southwest Asia, bordered by Saudi Arabia to the North and the Red Sea to the West.
Guest – Pardiss Kebriaei, an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights. She specializes in international litigation, working within the Inter-American, European and UN human rights systems, and in foreign jurisdictions including the Philippines, India, Nepal, Thailand, and Colombia.
Washington DC Protests and Demonstrations – More than 80 Arrested
Accounts of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment have been condemned by the United Nations, Human Rights Watch and other reputable bodies. The Center for Constitutional Rights has led the effort to get Guantanamo closed down and get prisoners the rights they’re entitled under International Law and the U.S. Constitution.
Guest – Vince Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, was at one the many demonstrations in Washington DC. He spent seven years as national senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), where he led national constitutional and impact litigation to advance civil rights and civil liberties.