The Anniversary of the political prisoner mass hunger strike at Guantánamo Bay detention center

Esperanza Spalding

Center For Constitutional Rights – Today marks one year since the men detained at Guantánamo re-awakened the world to their plight through a mass hunger strike. With this act of conscience, they moved countless journalists and various editorial boards to condemn Guantánamo and inspired multiple international bodies and associations, including the United Nations and the European Parliament, to urge the U.S. government to finally shut the prison down. Ultimately, after nearly a year without a single transfer, the hunger-strikers successfully pressured the Obama administration to resume releasing men.

But Guantánamo remains open, and it is still critical to maintain the pressure to shut down this travesty of justice.

Last week I took the stage at Grammy-award-winning musician Esperanza Spalding’s sold-outSpotlight on Guantánamo concert at the historic Lincoln Theater in DC and spoke about CCR’s tireless work representing men detained at the prison. At the same time that CCR attorneys were at Guantánamo visiting our clients, I was able to share the stories of some of the men we represent who have now entered their thirteenth year of unjust detention without charge or trial, despite having been cleared for release. Concert-goers and the hundreds who watched via live-stream saw CCR’s short videos of the great actors Mia Farrow and Vanessa Redgrave reading letters that our clients Fahd Ghazy and Tariq Ba Odah had written to us during the height of the hunger strike. You can watch these videos and learn more about these men and our other clients, including Ghaleb Al-Bihani and Mohammed al-Hamiri, on CCR’s website. You can also watch a recording of the entire evening.

Visit this page to take a stand with Esperanza Spalding, CCR, and other groups calling for the closure of Guantánamo. Share the page, which includes a link to Esperanza’s We Are Americamusic video demanding the closure of the prison. If you’ve missed it, also watch the recent segment on HuffPost Live, featuring Esperanza Spalding with CCR Senior Staff Attorney Pardiss Kebriaei, speaking about Guantánamo.

The tremendous outpouring of support you have shown for our detained clients means a great deal to them. It’s up to each of us to make sure that their hopes for justice for all the men detained at Guantánamo are not in vain.

As our client Fahd Ghazy recently said from his detention at Guantánamo, “This life will be over one day in 20 or 30 years. Everyone must decide where they want to place themselves in this history whenever it is complete.”

While we work to close Guantánamo, we also need to address unjust imprisonment and torture here in the United States. Learn about the No Separate Justice campaign and support it by liking it on Facebook. If you’re in New York, join us for the inaugural vigil this Monday, February 10 at 6pm in front of the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan. This first vigil will focus on CCR’s client, Fahad Hashmi. Learn more and invite your friends on the vigil’s Facebook page, or by sharing the event’s calendar page.

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