AIUSA's campaign to denounce torture
By Jumana Musa
Amnesty International USA’s vigorous campaign to end torture has been keeping pressure on the Bush administration, both in Washington, D.C., and at the grassroots level. On the legislative front, AIUSA helped plan an October congressional hearing on extraordinary renditions that included video testimony by Maher Arar, the Canadian citizen who was kidnapped from a New York City airport and imprisoned for 10 months in Syria. AIUSA also worked with U.S. representatives and senators to introduce legislation to create a single, transparent standard for interrogations and to limit the CIA toapproved interrogation techniques outlined in the Army Field Manual. And AIUSA co-sponsored a congressional screening of the film Rendition with the Congressional Human Rights Caucus.
Across the nation, members joined AIUSA’s Denounce Torture campaign by hosting hundreds of house parties to screen the documentary The Ghosts of Abu Ghraib. The screenings helped build networks among activists and encouraged public dialogue on the Bush administration’s opaque torture policies. AIUSA’s Global Write-a-thon, which begins in December (see page 21), gives members the first-ever opportunity to write letters of support directly to some Guantánamo detainees who have been imprisoned without trial for years. On Jan. 11, the sixth anniversary of the first detainee transfers to Guantánamo, AIUSA will hold nationwide protests against the United States’ illegal practices in the war on terror, including detention without trial and torture. At press time, AIUSA’s Jumana Musa, advocacy director for domestic human rights and international justice, was preparing to travel to Guantánamo to monitor the Nov. 8 pretrial hearing of Canadian citizen Omar Khadr before a military commission.
AIUSA continues to monitor and fight the U.S. government’s attempts to justify human rights abuses in the war on terror. AIUSA’s “86 Days” campaign to close Guantánamo, reverse the damage done by the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and hold the Bush administration accountable to international law culminates on Jan. 11. For more information on how to get involved visit: http://86days.amnestyusa.org or www.tearitdown.org