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Al-Marayati Speaks About Closing Gitmo at Peace Vigil

January 13, 2013


On the morning of Jan. 11, Salam Al-Marayati, MPAC's President, joined protesters outside the Federal Building in Downtown Los Angeles to call for the dissolution of the Guantanamo Bay detention center. The Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP) organized the vigil and press conference to bring attention to the horrifying conditions at Gitmo.

SEE: ICUJP Photo Album (Facebook)

Al-Marayati spoke about visiting the detention center in 2007, when he was asked by the Bush administration to visit Guantanamo Bay with the purposes of reviewing and endorsing the detainment and interrogation facility.

“They told me that they fed them [the detainees] and gave them Qurans, and then they asked me how I felt about what they were doing down there. So I said ‘well like one doctor said to the other, who was reviewing a patient: the operation was a success, but the patient died," he said. "Guantanamo Bay is killing the character of our nation.”

The sidewalk was filled with protesters from all colors and faiths unified with a single message: to end torture and extraordinary rendition. Many wore orange prisoner jumpsuits with a black hood over their faces and chains around their wrists and ankles as a vivid testament to the inhumanity of detainment centers such as Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.

ALSO SEE: "Protesters Object to 'Zero Dark Thirty' Torture Scenes" (KABC Los Angeles 7)

One protestor even laid his back against the cold cement of the sidewalk, swerving his head back and forth as a lady held a water bottle over his concealed mouth — a morbid reminder to the horrors of waterboarding.

Joining the speakers at the vigil and press conference was actor David Clennon who spoke about torture being immoral and criminal

Sadly, 11 years later and one of the biggest promises to close Guantanamo within the first year of President Barack Obama’s presidency unfulfilled, we are still waiting to see that commitment come to fruition. As we had hoped for the closing of Guantanamo Bay, the location remains open, and its existence has been ensured by the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 by allowing the indefinite detention of accused terrorists without trial and due process and placing heavy restrictions on transferring any detainees out of the facility.

Although 86 of the 166 detainees still remaining at Guantanamo have been cleared for release, no one has been released. 

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