Yesterday, 12 Americans were put into jail cells as punishment for their role in a protest against Barack Obama’s continued operation of the unconstitutional prisons at Guantanamo Bay. The prisons were the site of torture conducted under the orders President George W. Bush – torture that continues to go unpunished under Barack Obama.
The protest, organized by Witness Against Torture, wasn’t in favor of the Guantanamo prisoners in particular. Rather, it was in favor of the legal principle that, in every place under the jurisdiction of the United States government, people charged with crimes must be given due process, including a fair and speedy trial. The people held prisoner at Guantanamo are being kept behind bars without any reasonable opportunity to defend themselves. Some of them haven’t even been formally accused of any crime.
In the United States of America, no one – not even people accused of terrible crimes – is supposed to be held prisoner on the mere presumption of guilt. When our government continues to engage in such indefinite, unconstitutional imprisonment, it becomes an honorable thing for protesters to be placed behind bars themselves in protest against the corrosion of our nation’s constitution.