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Close Guantanamo Bay and lift David Hicks’ control order

Today, January 11, marks six years since the first detainees were transferred to the US naval base and prison camp of Guantánamo Bay, in Cuba. Since the beginning of the war in Afghanistan, 775 detainees have been brought to Guantanamo, approximately 420 of which have been released. Approximately 330 detainees remain.

Many former Guantánamo prisoners who undertook hunger strikes and attempted suicide brought to the world’s attention the sadistic abuses of prisoners by the US military command. No-one senior in that command has been brought to justice for human rights abuses including prisoners being beaten to the point of disability, injected with psychotropic drugs and subjected to extreme temperatures and loud music while chained and “interrogated”.

Since the beginning of the US so-called “war on terror”, human rights activists have denounced these criminal activities, and have called for the prison camp to be shut down. The Bush government’s “military commissions” – kangaroo courts where prisoners had no chance of justice – were even rejected by the US Supreme Court.

Anti-war activists and human rights campaigners who rejected the bogus “war on terror” since 2001 have been joined by a number of legal organisations in condemning torture and demanding an end to the inhumane treatment of prisoners of war.

While the Rudd Labor government has called for Guantanamo Bay to be closed down, it has put a “control order” on David Hicks – recently released from prison.

Socialist Alliance spokesperson Pip Hinman called on the new Rudd ALP government to follow through on its condemnation of the abuses at Guantánamo Bay and lift the control order on David Hicks, who was released recently from Yatala prison in South Australia.

“The Labor government cannot have it both ways: it should allow David to reintegrate into society. If anything he should be offered some compensation for the years that he was held illegally – as an ‘enemy combatant’ – by the US authorities.”

Socialist Alliance members are supporting the vigils and actions across the country today – the six anniversary of Guantánamo. “We are joining the protests to demand the shut down of the US naval base and prison camp at Guantánamo, the release of all prisoners, an independent inquiry into the deaths at Guantánamo, and the shut down of a similar prison camp at the US Bagram air base in Afghanistan”.

In Sydney, a vigil outside Town Hall will take place from 5.30pm-6.30pm. It is being organised by the Sydney Stop the War Coalition.*

More information: Pip Hinman 0412 139 968

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