Saturday, 5 July 2008

Crying out for Justice with Bartimaeus

Thought you'd be interested in Fr. Jarrett (friend of our friend Ched Myers), who has just been sent to prison along with 33 others for protesting about Guantanamo Bay. They represented themselves in court. Here is some of Jarrett's closing statement:

My name is Father Emmett Jarrett, and I speak today for one who cannot speak for himself, Osam Ahmad, a prisoner at Guantanamo prison camp in Cuba. We defendants stand charged under 40 USC 6135, which makes it a crime to "parade, stand or move in procession or assemblages in the Supreme Court building or grounds". We came to the United States Supreme Court on January 11, 2008 in the costume of Guantanamo detainees. Our intention was to put dramatically before the court and public opinion the plight of the men and boys detained at Guantanamo and elsewhere. These are detained without having been charged with any crime, without legal counsel in many cases, without knowing the evidence against them and being able to confront their accusers, and without the right of habeas corpus - not to mention their human right as guaranteed by Geneva Convention...

...It has been noted by the defense that the defendants in this trial have gotten further along in the criminal justice system than any of the men who are imprisoned at Guantanamo... The U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo... is both a symbol of national apostasy, and the place where these crimes are committed in our name... Those arrested outside, on the steps of the Supreme Court, were kneeling in prayer. Their First Amendment rights were violated because they were not informed of their option to continue their witness on the public sidewalk...

...This morning several of us prayed with a Franciscan community in Northwest Washington. The reading from Scripture was the story of Bartimaeus, the blind beggar (Mark 10:46-52). He cried out as Jesus was going through Jericho on his way to Jerusalem to confront not only the Roman Empire but his own people's apostasy in the name of the God of justice. When the poor beggar cried out, everyone told him to be quiet. But Bartimaeus would not be silent. He continued to cry out until Jesus heard him, asked him what he wanted, and restored his sight. Then Bartimaeus followed Jesus on the way. Today we, like Bartimaeus, cry out for justice for the prisoners held by our government at Guantanamo. We, too, cry out for justice, not just for ourselves but for them. We seek to give voice to the voiceless.

We plead with you to join us in acting to end torture and to restore habeas corpus to prisoners at Guantanamo and elsewhere. Become our companion on the way.

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