December 6, 2005

CONTACT: Mike McGuire, 347-683-4928,
U.S. Christians March on Guantanamo to visit Prisoners on Hunger Strike
Witness Against Torture Implores U.S. Military to Allow Access So They Can
Perform Work of Mercy: Bringing Comfort to Prisoners

Santiago, Cuba Twenty-five Christians in the nonviolent tradition of Dorothy
Day and the Catholic Worker arrived in Cuba last evening and plan to set out
from Santiago today on a solemn fifty-mile march to the prison camp at
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. They seek to defend human dignity by visiting with the
hundreds of detainees who have been held for more than three years under
horrific conditions by the U.S. government.

As a Christian, I feel compelled to reach out across national boundaries to
perform one of the most basic acts of faith as described in the gospel of
Matthew 25, I was in prison and you visited me, explained Catholic Worker
Matthew Daloisio. We want our fellow Americans to see the shameful acts of
torture and abuse taking place in this and other illegal prisons hidden across
the globe. We pray that others will join us in urging our government to allow
us to perform this act of Christian faith.

Participants in the group include a Jesuit Priest, Steve Kelly, a Catholic Nun,
Sr. Anne Montgomery, Frida Berrigan, daughter of the late antiwar activist Phil
Berrigan, and representatives of a number of Catholic Worker Communities. The
marchers plan to arrive outside the gates of the U.S. naval base and prison
complex on Guantanamo Bay on December 10, International Human Rights Day.

They are requesting entry into the compound to visit and interview the
detainees as a work of mercy in keeping with their faith. If refused, as United
Nations inspectors were just two weeks ago, they will hold a fast in solidarity
and a vigil to pray for the immediate abolition of torture by all nations.

A press conference at the St. Marks Church-on-the-Bowery will be held on
December 7 to call on the U.S. Government to allow Witness Against Torture to
visit the Guantanamo prisoners. Speakers will include Michael Ratner, head of
the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and CCRs Gitanjali Gutierrez, the
lead attorney for Guantanamo Bay detainees. CCR brought the landmark detainee
right-to-trial case in which the Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Government
had to allow federal hearings to determine the legal status of detainees.
Ratner will explain how the Bush Administration has refused to comply with this
ruling. Speakers will also include relatives of a Guantanamo Bay detainee now
on hunger strike. Sister Diana Ortiz, a U.S. nun who was a victim of rape and
torture in Guatemala, will be joined by anti-torture activist Jennifer
Harberry, to speak of what it feels like to be a victim of torture.

A sign-on letter at will allow Americans to join their

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