Pressing the President on GITMO

Protests outside the White House take all kinds of forms and encompass all kinds of issues. Last Wednesday, Jan. 11 there was a jail cell with orange-jumpsuit-clad protesters inside facing the presidential mansion. The small cell, with protesters taking three-hour shifts inside, represents the holding pen some accused al-Qaida members were held in for a time at the military-run prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The protest, said Witness Against Torture organizer and Catholic Worker Matthew Daloisio of New York, marks the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Guantanamo prison and calls for ending the indefinite detention of alleged terrorists in Cuba, Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan and at CIA-run sites around the world. The cell "opened" up Jan. 7 and was in place for 92 hours until Jan. 11, the day Guantanamo opened in 2002. Daloisio said about 1,000 people were expected for a rally at the White House to call upon President Barack Obama to uphold his executive order to close the prison and try the men being held there. Obama subsequently has signed legislation that prevents the prison’s closing, disappointing the anti-torture activists. “There was hope for some change as Obama took office,” Daloisio said. “All of that hope is essentially lost when it comes to issues of civil liberties and accountability. “When we began this work we never imagined that 10 years later we would be continuing in this way,” Daloisio said. He also expressed concern that American citizens now can be detained indefinitely under a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act signed by the president Dec. 31. Obama issued a signing statement explaining, however, that no American citizen would be so detained while he is in office.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Ivette Escobar, a student at Central American University in San Salvador, helps finish a rug in honor of the victims in the 1989 murder of six Jesuits, their housekeeper and her daughter on the UCA campus, part of the 25th anniversary commemoration of the Jesuit martyrs in 2014. (CNS photo/Edgardo Ayala) 
A human rights attorney in the United States believes that the upcoming canonization of Blessed Oscar Romero in October has been a factor in a decision to revisit the 1989 Jesuit massacre at the University of Central America.
Kevin ClarkeApril 20, 2018
Journalists photograph the lethal injection facility at San Quentin State Prison in California in 2010. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)
In California, Catholic opponents of the death penalty are trying to protect the largest population of inmates awaiting execution in the Western Hemisphere.
Jim McDermottApril 20, 2018
Photo: the Hank Center at Loyola University Chicago
Bishop McElroy said that Catholics must embrace “the virtues of solidarity, compassion, integrity, hope and peace-building.”
Young demonstrators hold a rally in front of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
Patrick Blanchfield on the history and future gun control in the United States
Ashley McKinlessApril 20, 2018