Sixteen arrested in actions against torture, Trump’s cabinet nominees

Witness Against Torture photo

Witness Against Torture photo


from Witness Against Torture

Clad in orange jumpsuits and Shut Down Guantanamo t-shirts, activists with Witness Against Torture (WAT) took over the Hart Senate Building on January 11 with a message for Senators, staffers, and the general public. They marked the 15th anniversary of the opening of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The message was “Shut Down Guantanamo,” “No Torture Cabinet” and “Hate Doesn’t Make U.S. Great.” These statements were painted on banners that activists dropped from a balcony and spread on the floor as 9 members of the group dressed in orange jumpsuits and black hoods held a die-in, mourning those Muslim men who died at Guantanamo without ever being charged with a crime. The nine, plus three others, were arrested by Capitol Police as supporters sang “Oh America, don’t believe their lies. Their politics of hate will destroy our children’s lives.” The balconies were crowded with onlookers as the action unfolded. One of the two who unfurled the “No Torture Cabinet” banner was also taken into custody.

These actions took place as Senators were hearing testimony from President elect Trump’s picks for Attorney General and Secretary of State, which were interrupted repeatedly by WAT activists. Three of them are now in custody.

Witness Against Torture photo

Witness Against Torture photo

WAT released a statement reading:

“President-Elect Donald J. Trump has nominated militarists for top cabinet positions. He has promised to ‘load up Guantanamo with really bad dudes.’ On the critical human rights and rule of law issues, Trump’s posturing represents backsliding to the worst of the Bush administration’s misdeeds and abrogation of the law.

“Remembering those who have been imprisoned, tortured and, in some cases, lost their lives, at Guantanamo, Witness Against Torture calls on President Obama to use his last days in office to expedite releases from Guantanamo, and make public the full U.S. Senate Torture Report. We demand that President-elect Trump reject the use of torture, continue transferring men from Guantanamo, end indefinite detention and reject national security or other measures that discriminate against Muslims.

“WAT urges members of the Senate, in whom the public has placed its trust, to use all their power to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law. You can choose to reject the Trump administration’s nominees and insist that people at the highest levels of government would never advocate for torture. You have the opportunity to repudiate torture, release the Torture Report and acknowledge responsibility for the ghastly abuses that occurred during both the Bush and Obama administrations.”

The names of those arrested at both locations are:

Chantal de Alcuaz

Jerica Arents

Beth Brockman

Don Cunning

Erica Ewing

Ellen Graves

Martha Hennessy

Sherrill Hogan

Kathy Kelly

Joanne Lingle

Joan Pleune

Manijeh Saba

Helen Schietinger

Eve Tetaz

Carmen Trotta

Silke Tudor

Images of Witness Against Torture’s action are available HERE.

Witness Against Torture will carry on its activities until torture is decisively ended, its victims are fully acknowledged, Guantanamo and similar facilities are closed, and those who ordered and committed torture are held to account

Witness Against Torture photo

Witness Against Torture photo