American Peace Activists Bring Protest Against Torture
to Gates of U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

Interview with Simon Harak,
Jesuit priest and organizer
with the War Resisters League,
conducted by Scott Harris

Allegations that the U.S. systematically mistreats and tortures terrorist suspects was the focus of attention again when Secretary of State Condoleza Rice denied charges that Washington operates secret prisons in several Eastern European countries. Investigations have been launched by the European Union into the complicity of governments where these prisons may be located and whose territories may have been used to transport detainees. While President Bush and other U.S. officials have stated that America does not torture, prisoners who have been released from Guantanamo Bay have alleged that they were menaced with dogs and beaten while in American military custody.

In protest of the treatment of terrorism suspects held at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval base in Cuba and other known and covert facilities around the world, 25 American Christian activists traveled to the gates of the prison and are demanding to meet with the detainees held there. The human rights campaigners flew to Cuba, then marched 80 miles on foot from Santiago, Cuba to Guantanamo, arriving there on Dec. 10, International Human Rights Day. The group now sits at the gate, fasting and praying while awaiting permission to enter the U.S. base. Thus far, the Bush administration has not responded to the group's request.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Simon Harak, Jesuit priest and anti-militarism coordinator with the War Resisters League. He explains why members of the War Resisters League and Catholic Worker communities from across the U.S. have converged on Guantanamo in their Witness to Torture, protesting government policies that they maintain have led to the mistreatment of detainees.

Contact the War Resisters League by calling (212) 228-0450 or visit the Witness to Torture website at

Related links:

* The War Resisters League at

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