GUANTANAMO, CUBA: CPTer Anne Montgomery, twenty-four other U.S. Christians reach U.S. naval base

CPTnet
13 December 2005

GUANTANAMO, CUBA: CPTer Anne Montgomery, twenty-four other U.S. Christians
reach U.S. naval base

On Tuesday, 13 December, twenty-five U.S. Christians ended their fifty-mile
march from Santiago, Cuba to the American detention center at Guant´┐Żnamo
Bay. The Witness Against Torture marchers are the first American Christians
ever to approach the prison, where hundreds of inmates have been tortured,
humiliated and held in violation of international law. During their march,
the participants prayed for the Guant´┐Żnamo detainees and for the four
Christian Peacemakers threatened with execution in Iraq.

The group includes Sr. Anne Montgomery, who has served with CPT in Iraq and
Hebron, and Danny Burns, who was part of a CPT delegation to Iraq.

Participants in the Guantanamo witness plan to try to visit the
incarcerated, as called for in Matthew 25:36. Members of the group have set
up tents on the Cuban side of the gates, where they will fast and pray while
waiting for U.S. permission to visit the prison.

In June, President Bush said to those concerned with the conditions in
Guant´┐Żnamo, "You're welcome to go down yourself . . . and take a look at
the conditions." The group is asking people to call on President Bush to
grant permission for them to visit the prisoners. (See
www.witnesstorture.org <http://www.witnesstorture.org> )

Anne Montgomery read from a prepared statement, "In 2003, three Christian
Peacemaker Teams members were refused entrance to Airport Detention Center
near Baghdad, Iraq. As we stood there, two taxis arrived filled with
families desperate to get information about fathers, brothers, and sons
seized in raids of homes and on the street. After that we found many other
families in the same situation. We began a campaign, not claiming innocence
or guilt of the prisoners, but calling for their basic human rights to be
respected. Now (we) are marching toward Guantanamo where Iraqis and others
are being held. Tom Fox, a CPT member who is being held hostage in Iraq,
said just before his capture, 'War and oppression make people less human
than they should be.'"

"I've been in prison when people outside were holding a vigil," said Susan
Crane of the Catholic Worker Movement. "I could feel the encouragement--not
just me, but the other women, that people were praying for me. It brings
hope." Crane said the U.S. war on terror would not bring security. She said
the only way the country can protect itself is by changing its attitudes and
actions toward the rest of the world. "Jesus brought a new commandment: to
love one another," she said. "To me, nonviolence is the only thing that's
going to work."

Added Anne Montgomery, "We feel that what is happening in Guant´┐Żnamo
represents the dehumanization of the prisoners, the guards and those that
make war. We pray at the gates of Guant´┐Żnamo that love will overcome this
dehumanization."