Washington, DC -- On Thursday, May 16th at 10am CODEPINK will be hosting a press conference in the Zenger Room at the National Press Club. As the health of the striking prisoners deteriorates, human rights advocates and military officials are speaking out, calling on President Obama to take immediate action to close the prison.
Speakers (full bios below):
Colonel Morris Davis, former Guantanamo Chief Prosecutor
Carlos Warner, lawyer for eleven Guantanamo Bay detainees
Captain Jason Wright, JAG lawyer for two Guantanamo Bay detainees
Imam Mahdi Bray, Executive Director of the Muslim American Society's Freedom Foundation
Diane Wilson, military veteran on a hunger strike since May 1 to close Guantanamo
Medea Benjamin, moderator, CODEPINK cofounder
The following day, Friday May 17th, marking the 100th day of the beginning of the hunger strike, a coalition of activists will stage a vigil in front of the White House from noon until 1:00 pm. They will don orange jumpsuits like the ones worn in Guantanamo, read the names of the prisoners and letters from their families. Colonel Morris Davis will deliver his change.org petition, with over 200,000 signatures, to the White House.
CODEPINK has launched an urgent call to save the lives of the 130 prisoners on hunger strike in Guantanamo and has been staging actions across DC for the last several weeks. Over 1,200 people from around the world have joined a rolling hunger strike. Diane Wilson, who will be speaking at the press conference, has been on a water-only hunger strike since May 1st and intends to continue her strike until the prisoners cleared for release begin to be freed.
Colonel Morris Davis: Colonel Morris D. Davis (born July 31, 1958) is a United States Air Force officer and lawyer, was appointed to serve as the third Chief Prosecutor of the Guantanamo military commissions September 2005 until October 2007. He resigned from the position due to objecting to the appointment of William J. Jaynes, II, former General Counsel of the Department of Defense, as Presiding Officer of the commissions. He retired from active duty in October 2008 and has been speaking out publicly against the continued operations at Guantanamo Bay prison.
Captain Jason Wright represents two Guantanamo Bay detainees facing trial
before the U.S. Military Commissions: U.S. v. Khalid Shaikh Mohammad and U.S.
v. Obaidullah. Mr. Mohammad’s capital case is currently in active litigation, and
Mr. Obaidullah remains uncharged despite enduring more than 11 years of
In August 2011, CPT Wright was assigned to the Office of the Chief Defense Counsel for the U.S. Military Commissions and now splits his time between their offices in Washington, D.C. and U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay.
Carlos is an Assistant Public Defender for the Northern District of Ohio. He has been a public defender for 15 years. He, along with his colleagues, represent 11 men held at Guantanamo Bay, including Yemeni men cleared for release. He has worked tirelessly to close Guantanamo both publicly and behind the scenes. He still believes with the President's will and force, the prison could be shuttered in a year.
Imam Mahdi Bray is a long-time civil and human rights activist currently serving as the Executive Director of the Muslim American Society's Freedom Foundation (MAS Freedom), and former President of the Coordinating Council of Muslim Organizations (CCMO). Imam Bray serves on the Board of Directors of the Interfaith Alliance, Interfaith Worker Justice and is a national co-convener of Religions of Peace-USA. He has served as political advisor and strategist to several national state and local political campaigns. Imam Bray has served as a liaison between the President's White House Faith-Based Initiative Program and Congressional Affairs on behalf of the Muslim Community.
Medea Benjamin is cofounder of the peace group CODEPINK and the human rights group Global Exchange. She has worked for years to close Guantanamo, including organizing a march of former prisoners and family members of present prisoners to the Cuban side of Guantanamo. She is author of several books on US policy, including Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control.
Diane Wilson is an environmental activist, anti-war activist, an author, and a fourth generation shrimper from Texas. She is a co-founder of the anti-war organization CODEPINK. She has been on a water-only hunger strike since May 1st in solidarity with the prisoners and intends to continue her strike until the prisoners cleared for release begin to be freed. On May 10, Ms. Wilson, a grandmother, was arrested at the White House for chaining herself, by her neck, to the fence.