Hunger Strike – Emergency Response
We will gather for action in New York City, Chicago, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Des Moines, Western Massachusetts, and other cities domestically and internationally next week to denounce the barbaric practice of torture and indefinite detention and to demand justice for the men at Guantanamo.
Joined by allies worldwide, Witness Against Torture members will fast for 7 days — Sunday, March 24 through Saturday, March 30– in solidarity with the men in Guantanamo on hunger strike.
Some of us will continue fasting every Friday until President Barack Obama’s promise to close Guantanamo is fulfilled.
We will try to reach the men at Guantanamo, their families, and men formerly detained to let them know that we have not forgotten their suffering.
We will continue to organize, agitate and witness in defense of human rights and the U.S. Constitution.
What You Can Do
Join the Fast & Vigils
We invite you to join the fast for whatever period of time you can between March 24-30. Let us know you are participating (and we will send you information on a ‘faster’s reflection conference call scheduled for Thursday). See the events page of our website to find vigil information for New York City, Chicago, Des Moines, Northhamption, Los Angeles & Washington D.C. – and let us know of any vigils to add.
Skip a meal & Send a Letter
Flood the prison with mail by downloading and sending a letter that will be available for download from our website soon.
Skip a meal and use that time to send it, or donate the food cost to sending the letters (10 letters to Guantanamo cost $11.00).
Organize through social media
Take a photo of yourself in an orange jumpsuit and black hood in a public place and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Change your facebook photo to this photo for the week of March 24-30 and post to your friends and networks about your protest.
Follow Witness Against Torture on Twitter.
Call the White House and U.S. Military
Call the White House and insist that President Obama fulfill his promise to close Guantanamo.
202-456-1111 or submit a comment online.
Call the U.S. Southern Command to decry the conditions at Guantanamo. 305-437-1000
E-mail or write Secretary of Defense Charles Hagel and demand that he rapidly resume the transfers of all the men the Obama administration does not intend to charge.
Write: Secretary of Defense Charles Hagel, 1000 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301
Where Is the World?
What would you do if you were imprisoned for more than ten years, without ever being charged with a crime? You were tortured and abused. You could not see your family. Your only visitors were interrogators and lawyers. And then you were cleared for release — deemed by your captors to be no threat — and told that the prison would close. But you remained locked up, with no end in sight. Who would hear your cries? What resistance could you mount?
This is the situation for dozens of men at the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo. Fed up with their treatment and spurred by a new wave of abuses, they launched a hunger strike in February that is just now gaining attention in the U.S. press. (read more link here, which when clicked on expands to include the paragraphs below)
Most of the men in Camp 6, the largest in the Guantanamo prison complex, have been on hunger strike since February 6, 2013. Lawyers for prisoners say the men are protesting their indefinite confinement and what they consider intrusive searches of their Qurans. The U.S. government now admits that 21 men are refusing food, though the attorneys insist the number is much higher.
The health of those on hunger strike is deteriorating. Attorneys report that some men have lost 20-30 pounds and that at least two dozen have lost consciousness. According to medical experts, irreversible mental and physiological damage such as hearing loss, blindness, and hemorrhaging may begin to occur by the fortieth day of a hunger strike, and death follows thereafter.
The U.S. Navy reports that 8 men are being force-fed — a practice condemned by some human rights organizations as itself a form of torture, and used in efforts to “break” prior hunger strikes at Guantanamo.
166 men remain imprisoned at Guantanamo. 86 have been cleared for release. All are being subject to indefinite detention, held at the cost of $800,000 per year for each man, at a prison the President of the United States pledged to close on his first day of office in January 2009.
More Info About the Hunger Strike
Attorney Letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel
How Long Can the Government Pretend that the Massive Hunger Strike at Guantánamo Doesn’t Exist?
Guantánamo hunger strike grows
Guantanamo: By the Numbers, Center for Constitutional Rights
Witness Against Torture formed in 2005 when 25 Americans went to Guantánamo Bay to protest the detention facility. Since then, the group has organized vigils, marches, nonviolent direct actions, and educational events calling for the close of Guantánamo, an end to U.S. torture, accountability for the torturers, and justice for the victims.
Fr. River Damien Sims
Temenos Catholic Worker
Society of Franciscan Workers, Inc
Po. Box 642656
San Francisco, CA 94164