CODEPINK Press Release
CODEPINK Press Release February 5, 2015
Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK Co-founder, [email protected], 415 235 6517
Alli McCracken, CODEPINK National Coordinator, [email protected], 860 575 5692
Washington D.C. -- On Thursday, February 5th two protesters, David Barrows with CODEPINK and Helen Schietinger from Witness Against Torture, were arrested for speaking out during a Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing about Guantanamo Bay prison and the future of US detention policy.
Barrows, a long-time DC area peace activist, spoke up during Senator Lindsey Graham’s speech (R-SC), calling the Senate hearing “a disgrace and full of lies.” Senator Graham was claiming “it’s common sense that if prisoners have been in prison for that long, they deserve to be there and that the protocols and review board at the Guantanamo bay facility are adequate.” Barrows is well aware that over 50 of the prisoners still in Guantanamo never should have been there and have been cleared for release for years.
After the arrest of Barrows, Helen Schietinger with Witness Against Torture stood up and confronted Senator Graham for presenting false information and deliberately misleading the committee.
Sentiments like that voiced by Senator Graham have been widely criticized by the Obama administration, which admits the continued military operations at Gitmo are counter to US and international law. “It is also no surprise that ISIS uses the orange jumpsuit and black hood to execute its prisoners,” noted witness Brian Mckeon from the Department of Defense. “The outfit has become widely recognized as a symbol for Guantanamo.”
There are currently 122 detainees in Gitmo, 54 of whom have been investigated by US courts and cleared for release. New legislation being introduced by John McCain and other Senators would block any attempts to close the detention facility.
CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin stated “It’s horrible to have to sit through these hearings and listen to members of Congress talk about the need to keep these men in indefinite detention and keep the prison open indefinitely. It is so contrary to the values of a democratic society. The prison should be closed, the men should be tried or freed, and the base should be given back to the Cubans.”