Thursday, November 8, 2007

Close Guantanamo - Call to Action, message from Anthony D. Romero, ACLU Executive Director

Don't Wait for '08! Stop Spying, Close Guantanamo, End Torture and Restore Habeas Corpus!

ACLU attorney Jamil Dakwar is in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba serving as a human rights observer at the hearing of a Canadian citizen named Omar Ahmed Khadr. Khadr was only 15 years old when he was captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan. This is his third hearing; the first two resulted in the charges against him being thrown out.

After nearly six years of disarray and uncertainty about how to prosecute the 320 remaining prisoners being held at Guantánamo Bay, the U.S. government has failed to complete a single trial. As the prisoners continue to languish without being charged or tried, one thing remains crystal clear: We cannot arbitrarily detain prisoners, deny them access to lawyers, and hold them indefinitely.

It is also clear that Congress cannot continue to put off taking action, they need to close Guantánamo Bay, restore habeas corpus and repudiate torture once and for all. In the meantime, you and I cannot wait for a change in Congress or the White House to demand that our leaders fix the damage done to the Constitution, our freedoms and our most fundamental American values over the last seven years.

That’s why we’re asking ACLU members to bring the discussion about these vital issues to their friends and family by hosting a screening of the powerful documentary, "Ghosts of Abu Ghraib," on or before December 10, International Human Rights Day. Sign up to host a screening.

We know for a fact that when they learn of the abuses being carried out in their name, the American people reject the use of torture and believe that our nation should uphold the rule of law. That is why the ACLU is calling on friends like you to help us educate and mobilize the public.

We won’t wait for ’08 to end torture, restore habeas corpus and close Guantánamo . We must act now. By hosting a screening of “Ghosts of Abu Ghraib,” you will increase awareness about the issues of torture, habeas corpus and due process. Raising awareness of these issues is essential as we fight to restore our Constitution and our most fundamental values.

All you need to host a viewing is a DVD player, a TV and guests. We’ll provide you with the tools you need to have a meaningful discussion.

To think that it has taken almost six years for Khadr's hearing to take place underscores the fact that we can’t wait for ’08 to restore the Constitution; we must act now.

I hope you’ll consider hosting a viewing of this important documentary, and help build awareness about these fundamental issues. Thank you for your involvement and for standing up for freedom and the rule of law.

Anthony D. Romero
Executive Director

Working to End Torture
Observing Guantánamo hearings: ACLU attorney, Jamil Dakwar, is at Guantánamo Bay to observe the hearing of Omar Ahmed Khadr. Read his comments and observations about the hearing on the ACLU blog.

Testifying before Congress: ACLU attorney, Amrit Singh, testified today before the House Judiciary Subcommittee looking into "enhanced" interrogation methods used on detainees in U.S. custody. Read more about her testimony.

Getting the facts: As a result of a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the ACLU, the third secret torture memo from Alberto Gonzales’ DOJ was revealed on Tuesday. Learn more about the documents and what they uncover.