Twenty-Four Anti-Torture Activists Acquitted

Scott Horton, June 15, 2010

Breaking: Twenty-Four Anti-Torture Activists Acquitted in Trial for Protest at the US Capitol Calling for Guantanamo’s Closure and the Investigation of Deaths at the Prison.


On Monday, June 14, twenty-four activists with Witness Against Torture were acquitted in Washington, D.C. Superior Court of charges of “unlawful entry with disorderly conduct.” The charges stemmed from demonstrations at the US Capitol on January 21,2010 – the date by which President Obama had promised the closure of the Guantanamo detention camp.

“With his decision, the judge validated the effort of the demonstrators to condemn the ongoing crime of indefinite detention at Guantanamo,” says Bill Quigley, legal adviser to the defendants and the Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

“Our acquittal is a victory for free speech and for the right of Americans to stand up for those falsely imprisoned and abused at Guantanamo,” says Ellen Graves, one of the defendants. “We tried to shine a light on the unconstitutional policies of the Bush and now the Obama administrations. That light shone brightly today.”

“We will use our freedom to continue to work for the day when Guantanamo is closed and those who designed and carried out torture policies are held to account,” says defendant Paul Thorson.

On January 21, activists dressed as Guantanamo prisoners were arrested on the steps of the Capitol holding banners reading “Broken Promises,Broken Laws, Broken Lives.” Inside the Capitol Rotunda, at the location where deceased presidents lie in state, fourteen activists were arrested performing a memorial service for three men who died at Guantanamo in 2006. Initially reported as suicides, the deaths may have been – as recent evidence suggests – the result of the men being tortured to death (see [the other] Scott Horton, “Murders at Guantanamo, March, 2010, Harper’s).

7 Responses to “Twenty-Four Anti-Torture Activists Acquitted”

  1. Ah torture, the last bastion of a failing inquisition.

  2. They are 24 true American patriots. I salute them all. They all should be recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. But don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen.

  3. Why would the torturer's hand out medals to the people trying to make noise about their crimes?

  4. I’m glad these people were acquitted. Hell, they should never have been charged.

  5. The sight of a smiling war pig in a business suit is such an affront. I prefer bad guys to look and act like villains at all times. Idi Amin used to EAT his enemies, lmao, an actual cannibal, now that's playing the part. No weasel smiles, no bouncing children off his knee, just the ex-heavyweight boxing champion of Uganda scowling down on his impoverished subjects from the Presidential Palace.

  6. I agree. I was cynically to trying point out the so-called "Presidential Medal of Freedom" is a complete fraud.

  7. They're just lucky they weren't mowed down by machine gun fire from the DCPD or Capitol Hill Copthugs. Their successors who state future demonstrations of this sort in the near future might not be so lucky.