LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A demonstration to protest the continued use of the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay military base in Cuba is scheduled Friday in downtown Los Angeles. The eighth annual ``Close Guantanamo Now!'' protest, organized by Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace, will feature speakers and street theater from black-hooded, orange-jumpsuited ``detainees'' kneeling on the sidewalk between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Stephen Fiske will perform his song ``Close Guantanamo.''
Since the prison camp opened in 2002 in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, almost 800 men have been held in custody for various periods. There are now about 40 prisoners at the camp, according to media reports. Within its first two years, it was revealed that inmates were subjected to controversial interrogation techniques.
According to the ICUJP, the majority of Guantanamo prisoners ``are guilty of no crime and have been charged with none.''
``Their misfortune was to have been Arabs along the Afghan-Pakistan border in the fall of 2001 when the U.S. began bombing Afghanistan, and were turned over to the U.S. for $5,000 bounties,'' an ICUJP statement says.
``Any prisoners who are suspected of crimes, however, can never be charged in a duly constituted court of law because they have been tortured.''
The event is endorsed by the ACLU of Southern California, Code Pink LA, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and other groups, according to the ICUJP.
Scheduled speakers include Jim Lafferty of the National Lawyers Guild LA; Estee Chandler of Jewish Voice for Peace; Shakeel Syed, a board member of the ACLU of Southern California; Kenyatta Bakeer of the Muslim Anti-Racist Collaborative; Ryan Wentz of Code Pink; and John O'Brien of Out Against War.