Amnesty International Demands Reparations for Police Torture in Chicago, Organizes Anti-Torture Events Across USA

Activists across the country will demand reparations for torture survivors from the Chicago City Council (Photo credit: AIUSA)
Press Release
June 25, 2014

Amnesty International Demands Reparations for Police Torture in Chicago, Organizes Anti-Torture Events Across USA

The Human Rights Organization Urges Chicago City Council to Pass an Ordinance Ensuring Reparations for Survivors of Torture at the Hands of Chicago Police During the 1970s, 1980s and Early 1990s

Contact: Natalie Butz, nbutz@aiusa.org, 202-675-8761, @AIUSAmedia

(NEW YORK) - In recognition of International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on Thursday, June 26, Amnesty International has organized demonstrations in cities across the country to stand in solidarity with survivors of torture by former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge or those he supervised.

While the abuses began in the early 1970's and spanned two decades, survivors including Darrell Cannon are still awaiting justice. Approximately 19 torture survivors are still behind bars. Hundreds of activists in cities including Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. will hold rallies on Thursday demanding the Chicago City Council meet its obligation to ensure reparations for survivors by passing the Reparations Ordinance for the Chicago Police Torture Survivors. Amnesty's petition has already reached 22,182 signers.

"Torture is a global epidemic, even in our own backyard," said Steven W. Hawkins, executive director for Amnesty International USA. "How can the United States be an effective advocate against the use of torture elsewhere in the world when we still have individuals who have yet to receive justice for being tortured at the hands of U.S. authorities? Ensuring reparations for survivors of torture is not a zero-sum game. Rather, it is a critical first step in restoring our ability to successfully stand up to ill-treatment and other human rights abuses on a global level."

In Chicago on Thursday, more than a hundred activists are expected to gather at 12 p.m. at the James R. Thompson Center to hear from torture survivors and then march to Chicago City Hall to urge the Chicago City Council to pass the Reparations Ordinance.

In addition to the Chicago effort, Amnesty International USA is also campaigning for accountability for torture by the CIA including calling for public release of the Senate Intelligence Committee's torture report.

Last month, Amnesty International launched a global campaign to end torture. The Stop Torture Campaign aims to raise awareness about torture both at home in the United States as well as around the world, pursue justice for torture survivors and implement safeguards against all forms of ill-treatment. In addition to the United States, focus countries include Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, the Philippines and Uzbekistan.

The findings of a new worldwide survey commissioned by Amnesty International on attitudes toward torture show that one-third of Americans say they would not feel safe from the prospect of torture if taken into custody in the United States.

For more details on local demonstrations, please visit: amnestyusa.org/stoptorture/events.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million members in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.