Sunday, January 13, 2008



January 12, 2008 - 82 people were arrested at the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday as part of Witness Against Torture's January 11th action to Shut Down Guantánamo to mark six years of unjust imprisonment and abuse for the men held in Guantánamo. About half were arrested inside the U.S. Supreme Court; the others were arrested on the steps of the Court.

As of 8pm, Saturday, all 82 people have been released. Many of the arrestees were denied food and water for most of the 30-some hours they were detained.

46 pled not guilty are going back to trial. Some people got cited and released and have yet to receive arraignment - so even more could be going to trial.

About 70 of those arrested withheld their legal name and instead gave the name of a detainee upon arrest. Today in court they gave their legal name but stated that their arrest on behalf of a detainee. Thus one of the main goals for the action was achieved because a number the court dockets as well as individual citations now have one of the detainees' names on them.

People were charged with "unlawful free speech on supreme court grounds." People who were arrested inside the building received an additional charge of "causing a harangue within the supreme court."

Arrestees included: people from all over the country; teenagers and octogenarians; first time arrestees; members of the Witness Against Torture's original delegation that walked to Guantanámo to visit the prisoners; and Dorothy Day's granddaughter, Martha Hennesey.

The arrests followed a solemn march from the National Mall of 400 persons that included a procession of activists dressed like the Guantánamo prisoners in orange jumpsuits and black hoods. The procession, in turn, was preceded with a short rally at the Mall organized by Amnesty International, National Religious Campaign Against Torture and Witness Against Torture. The event was part of an International Day of Action that was endorsed by over 100 groups and that included 83 events around the world.

Witness Against Torture would like to thank everyone who helped make yesterday's action the success that it was. Your prayers, your participation, your endorsements, your publicity and of course your financial support are all deeply appreciated. (If you haven't yet make a donation to Witness Against Torture and would like to do so, please visit our website to donate on-line or else send a check made out to "Witness Against Torture" to Mary House Catholic Worker, 55 E. Third Street, New York, NY 10003.)

Photos, videos and press clippings will be posted to in the coming days, so please check our website regularly.

Witness Against Torture

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