The United Nations has set aside June 26th as an International Day in Support of Victims of Torture to mark ratification in 1987 of the UN Convention Against Torture. Alliance for Justice has joined with many other organizations to call on Americans to observe this day by taking action against torture.

Though the United States is a party to the convention, since 9/11 our government has detained and tortured hundreds of individuals, held people in secret prisons and at Guantanamo, created a tribunal system that allows secret evidence and tortured confessions – all of which has proven damaging to our Constitution and core values at home and detrimental to our reputation and national security throughout the world.

On June 26th, please call on Congress, the White House, and the Attorney General to restore justice and hold accountable those responsible for leading our country astray by enabling torture in the name of national security.

You can call President Obama in the White House at (202) 456-1414 and Attorney General Eric Holder’s office at 202-353-1555.

You can call your members of Congress or the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your senators’ and representative’s offices.

Once connected, identify yourself as a constituent and urge these officials to take the following actions:

Close Guantanamo. President Obama has announced his intention to close the prison by January 2010. Congress should work with the President to ensure the prison is closed and the individuals held there are charged and prosecuted or repatriated.

End military commissions permanently. These kangaroo courts didn’t work under the Bush administration and cosmetic changes in the Obama administration won’t work either. The system is fatally flawed. Federal courts can provide a true measure of justice, while respecting the rule of law and upholding American values.

Reject indefinite detention. As Americans, we hold ourselves to a higher standard. Our Constitution and core values demand that we prosecute crime where evidence exists and release individuals where evidence of wrongdoing is lacking or non-existent – mere suspicion is not enough to deny anyone due process. We must hold true to our values and reject any attempt to give any president the ability to detain people indefinitely without charge.

Support an investigation of torture. As more and more evidence comes to light about the treatment and interrogation of detainees, the evidence demands a thorough investigation of the abuse, the architects of that abuse and prosecution of any crimes that were committed. Just as important, the American people deserve a full and fair accounting of what took place to ensure torture never happens in our name again.

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