With the war in Afghanistan going badly and the Gulf of Mexico choking on its own oil, the scandal of Guantanamo can seem a bad episode from the distant past. But what many see as one of the most resilient symbols of the Bush administration's disregard for the rule of law is still in operation, and 27 people go on trial in Washington on Monday, June 14, for their protest of the prison.
The 27 were arrested Jan. 21, the date by which President Obama had promised the facility would be closed, for protests at the U.S. Capitol. According to a release from Witnesses Against Torture, the group, dressed as Guantanamo prisoners, were arrested on the steps of the Capitol holding sings reading "Broken Promises, Broken Laws, Broken Lives." Fourteen activists were arrested inside the Capitol Rotunda where they performed a memorial service for three men who died at Guantanamo in 2006.
"The continued operation of the prison camp at Guantanamo is unacceptable, " said Matthew W. Daloisio of Witness Against Torture. "If Guantanamo was a foreign policy liability and stain on the rule of law on day one of the Obama presidency, it surely is 18 months later."
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A news conference will be held Monday at 8:30 a.m. near the Moultrie Superior Courthouse in Washington.