Movement to close Guantanamo prison spreads across U.S.

Josie Setzler and Franciscan Sister Paulette Schroeder, wearing hood, were among 17 members of the Tiffin, Ohio Area Pax Christi and the Sisters of St. Francis of Tiffin, calling for the closure of the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, May 23 in the Northwest Ohio town. (CNS/courtesy Tiffin Area Pax Christi)

Josie Setzler and Franciscan Sister Paulette Schroeder, wearing hood, were among those in Tiffin, Ohio, calling for the closure of the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, May 23. (CNS/courtesy Tiffin Area Pax Christi)

Josie Setzler wants people to know the United States has a moral and legal obligation to close the U.S. Army prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

A member of St. Joseph Parish in Fremont, Ohio, 36 miles southeast of Toledo, Setzler took her concerns to the public once more May 23 during a global day of action to urge President Barack Obama to make good on his pledge to close the prison.

She helped coordinate an hour-long vigil during what amounts to the afternoon rush hour in the nearby town of Tiffin.

Setzler, 60, said she believes that releasing the 154 men being held, nearly all of whom have never been charged with a crime, is long overdue. Records show 76 men have been cleared for release, but remain in detention.

“The Guantanamo issue has been a hard one to keep going right now because people think it’s been resolved,” Setzler said.

The event, coordinated by Tiffin Area Pax Christi, Sisters of St. Francis of Tiffin and local peace and justice organizations, was among demonstrations, prayer vigils and educational events in 38 U.S. communities and six cities around the world that focused on Obama’s pledge to close the prison during a speech at the National Defense University May 23, 2013.

Events were organized by Witness Against Torture, which has called for the prison’s closing since 2005.

In Tiffin, Setzler and her friends held large letters spelling out “Close Guantanamo.” A couple of people wore bright orange jumpsuits similar to those worn by the detainees.

“Our messages are going to be very simple. First of all it brings the subject up again. But it also lets people know it’s important to take a stand,” she said.

“It also helps people passing by to have the courage of their convictions as well.”

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3 Responses to Movement to close Guantanamo prison spreads across U.S.

  1. war is hell and prisoner camps are the next level below that,k

  2. Duane Lamers says:

    One can be opposed to war and desire that we extricate ourselves from the battlefields we now are mired in. On the other hand, we must take out the bad guys who are an active threat to our own security. I submit that it is a moral good to help rid the world of the evil Islamists, but we have an obligation to protect ourselves above all else..

    How do we confine these bad guys when we catch them. Perhaps we err in trying to capture them. Killing them on sight is morally justifiable, given their hand in the torture and murder of Muslims who do not “toe the line” they establish for the world.

    For some reason most of the critics of Gitmo have a blind spot in their view of justice and of punishment.

  3. josievs says:

    Duane, I’ve written about these prisoners you refer to as “bad guys” at the Toledo Faith and Values religion news website.

    Ordinarily in time of war, captives are held close to the point of capture until they can be screened, but this time all the prisoners were ordered transferred thousands of miles away to Guantanamo Bay, without regard to evidence. During the first Gulf War, fully three quarters of those captured were released within a few months. But now, in Guantanamo, 12 years have gone by and most of these men have never been charged and will never be tried.

    Only 5% of the detainees were captured by U.S. forces. 86% were arrested far from the battlefield by Pakistan or the Northern Alliance and turned over to US forces at a time when the US offered large bounties. Leaflets dropped over the impoverished mountainous region between Afghanistan and Pakistan carried a message offering villagers “enough money to take care of your family, your village, your tribe for the rest of your life.” The bounties provided temptation to turn over enemies of the local warlord or strangers fleeing the bombs falling in Afghanistan.

    When the US completes its withdrawal from Afghanistan, hostilities will be formally over. Yet the US plans to continue to detain some of the Guantanamo prisoners permanently without charge or trial. This is clearly illegal and immoral. When we accept this state of affairs, each of us is diminished. We can and must do better.

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