Thursday, April 09, 2009

My housemate risks arrest on Good Friday

Local activist, Paul Magno, to mark Good Friday with a dramatic nonviolent direct action at the White House

WASHINGTON -- On a day holy to all Christians, a local peace and justice activist will risk arrest during a dramatic protest against the indefinite detention of prisoners at places such as Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. The planned action will attempt to nonviolently recreate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ at the White House.

The action will happen at about 12 noon at the White House during Witness Against Torture's daily vigil ( calling for the immediate closure of Guantanamo and the end of all torture. The group has also begun calling for the closure of Bagram, despite U.S. military plans to double the size of the military prison.

"I want to call on the president to do the morally correct and just thing, and release all the prisoners who have never been charged with anything, and to shine an even brighter light on these unlawful places of injustice," said Paul Magno, a Washington activist.

Magno explained that his Good Friday protest is important, because it highlights that Jesus of Nazareth was a victim of torture and a prisoner of an empire.

According to local peace and justice activists, the action will be purely nonviolent and done in a manner of respect, with the aim of calling on President Obama to end the use of abusive tactics which amount to torture and to immediately close "legal black holes" such as Bagram and Guantanamo.

"It is not acceptable to simply close Guantanamo while leaving Bagram open, a place with even less oversight," the Washington activist added.

Magno has been associated with the Catholic Worker movement for nearly three decades, and spent 20 months in federal prison for nonviolent resistance to the nuclear arms race following a Plowshares action in Florida in 1984. By comitting the action Friday, he will also be violating an unsupervised probation ordered 10 months ago by Judge Wendell P. Gardner of DC Superior Court, stemming from an earlier protest calling for the closure of the controversial prison at Guantanamo Bay.

Magno has been actively involved in the Washington Peace Center since 2004 as a former coordinator and currently a board member. He is currently on staff of Witness for Peace, an organization of people of faith and conscience engaged in supporting peace, justice and sustainable economies in the Americas.

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