President Obama, Close Guantánamo in 2014!
Dear friends and supporters,
Happy New Year! It is with some relief that we note that three more prisoners -- the last of the Uighurs, Muslims from China's oppressed Xinjiang province -- were released from Guantánamo at the end of 2013, as Andy Worthington wrote about here
on his website.
This brings to eleven the number of prisoners released between August and December, compared to just five in the previous three years.
In his latest article for "Close Guantánamo," Join Us in Washington D.C. on Jan. 11 to Tell President Obama, "Close Guantánamo Now!"
, Andy asks you to join him and Tom Wilner, who, together, are the co-founders of the "Close Guantánamo" campaign, in the capitol this Saturday for the annual protest calling for President Obama to close Guantánamo, as he promised five years ago, when he first took office. Saturday is the 12th anniversary of the opening of the prison, and Andy is in the U.S. from Jan. 8-21, visiting New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles, as well as Washington D.C. You can find his whole itinerary here
This year, the release of prisoners in the last few months gives us encouragement that the administration is moving in the right direction, but action is needed immediately to release the other prisoners cleared for release in January 2010 by the high-level inter-agency Guantánamo Review Task Force -- 76 of the remaining 155 prisoners. Especially, the president needs to begin releasing the cleared Yemeni prisoners, who make up 55 of the 76 cleared prisoners, but are stuck because of the overreaction to a foiled bomb plot, on Christmas Day 2009, which was hatched in Yemen.
It remains completely unacceptable to hold men on the basis of their nationality alone, when a government task force approved them for release, and if you agree, please write to President Obama, via this letter prepared by the Center for Constitutional Rights
, calling specifically for action on releasing the Yemenis.
We do hope you can join Andy and Tom in Washington D.C. on Saturday, but if not please publicize the plight of the remaining prisoners on the anniversary, and please also ask your friends and family to join us
-- just an email address is required to be counted amongst those opposed to the ongoing existence of Guantánamo, and to receive updates of our activities by email.
With thanks, as ever, for your support.
The "Close Guantánamo" team