year at this time, the three of us were in Guantanamo, Cuba with
former detainee Asif Iqbal and the mother and brother of detainee
Omar Deghayes. Omar's mother, Zohar, had not seen her son in five
years. When we got to the gates of the U.S. Naval Base to stage
our protest, she broke down. "It breaks
my heart to think of my son in a cramped narrow cell without sunshine
or fresh air, living for so many years in conditions not even fit
for animals," she cried.
grew up in Brighton, England, where he studied law. In 2001 he traveled
to Malaysia, Pakistan and Afghanistan, where he married and had
a son. When war broke out in Afghanistan, he fled with his family
to Pakistan, planning to return to England. But he was arrested,
reportedly for a bounty of $5,000, and sent to Guantanamo. Omar
says he was beaten repeatedly and kept in solitary confinement for
eight months. In March 2004, when he protested a body cavity search,
five guards pepper sprayed him so badly, he lost sight in one eye.
six years of horrendous detention without charges or a trial, Omar
was finally released on December 18, 2007.
While we join his family in celebrating his release, we know over
300 prisoners still remain in Guantanamo, subjected to the same
abuses and utter disregard for due process.
11 marks the International Day to Shut Down Guantanamo. CODEPINK
is organizing a
protest in Miami outside the Southern Command, which
runs the prison. For a list of dozens of local protests across the
here. If you can't join a protest, please take a moment
to call (202-353-1555) or write
Attorney General Michael Mukasey. Demand that Guantanamo prison
be shut down, and that all detainees either be charged and tried
in US federal courtss or released.
Omar's release from prison, he wrote the following note to CODEPINK:
thank everyone from America who has written and emailed my
family for my release. I do not have hatred toward Americans.
I know that not all Americans are bad. Even inside the prison,
some guards were not bad.
thank you for your support and ask that you continue to work
hard to ensure that due process is provided for all prisoners
and to force the closing of the prison in Guantanamo."
you would like a write a note of apology to Omar or his mother,
Zohra, you can send it to email@example.com.
begin the new year by demanding that our government respect the
rule of law.
justice for all,
Medea Benjamin, Jodie Evans and Ann Wright
Travel with CODEPINK!
your plans now to join CODEPINK in
New Orleans, April 11th and 12th, as we celebrate V
to the 10th, the 10th anniversary of Eve Ensler's V-Day:
The Campaign to End Violence Against Women
and Girls and Change the Story of
here to find out more about this inspiring weekend,
which will include powerful activist trainings as well as performances
of Swimming Upstream and The
Vagina Monologues with Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres,
and other superstars. Come earlier in the week, and you can help
us bring healing, compassion and PINK
to New Orleans through our transformative community project.
can also travel
with CODEPINK worldwide to connect with our sisters
in other countries and spread peace around the globe. We are partnering
with Global Exchange to send women's delegations to places such
as Afghanistan and India in March, Iran and Vietnam in April,
and South Africa in August. Find
out more about these life-changing journeys here. We
look forward to traveling with you!