New Coalition calls on lawmakers to make torture a crime

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 Burge Trial Underway, Torture Survivors No Closer to Justice 


The newly formed Illinois Coalition Against Torture (ICAT) will hold a press conference to call upon city, state, and federal officials to make torture by U.S. law enforcement officials a crime. The press conference will be held Tuesday, June 1, 2010, in the First Floor Lobby of the Dirksen Federal Building, 219 S. Dearborn, at 9:00 a.m.

In a press release, the ICAT stated that, “Whether in Guantanamo or Chicago, torture is immoral and should be illegal. We call upon our legislators to criminalize torture by law enforcement officials, and follow the lead of many other countries who provide reparations to their torture survivors.

ICAT is calling for:

             — State and federal legislation to criminalize acts of torture committed by law enforcement officials in

                 Illinois  and the  U.S.

     — New hearings for over 20 Chicago Police torture survivors who were wrongfully convicted and remain incarcerated in the State of Illinois.
     — Reparations for torture survivors from the city of Chicago, including the cost of treatment and counseling.
 This 40 year saga has left the survivors of torture damaged, and the business of the state of Illinois unfinished, the press release noted.
    –At least twenty-three Burge police torture victims remain incarcerated awaiting new trials.
    –Many exonerated survivors who spent decades in jail are presently without the possibility of any financial reparations, and are in need of psychological counseling and other reparations.
    –If laws criminalizing torture by law enforcement officials were already in place, Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge, now on trial for perjury, could instead be prosecuted for the hundred of acts of torture committed under his watch.

Expected to be at the rally are:
U.S. Representative Danny Davis, who is sponsoring federal legislation to criminalize torture by law enforcement officials.

Alderman Ed Smith, who sponsored a City Council resolution calling for legislation criminalizing torture by law enforcement officials.    

Cook County Commissioner Earlean Collins, who sponsored a Cook County resolution calling for legislation criminalizing torture by law enforcement officials.

Darrell Cannon, Chicago Police torture survivor who was wrongfully convicted and served 23 years in prison before he was exonerated.

Joey Mogul, an attorney at the People’s Law Office, who has represented many of the Chicago Police torture survivors and presented these cases to the UN Committee Against Torture in 2006.

The Illinois Coalition Against Torture (ICAT) is opposed to state-sponsored torture wherever it occurs, and has initiated an educational and legislative campaign with the goal of ending impunity for torturers.

8th Day Center for Justice
Adler Institute on Social Exclusion
Alliance I-11
ARC (A Movement Re-imagining Change)
Champaign-Urbana Citizens for Peace and Justice
Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)-Illinois

Community Involvement Association
Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights
Heartland Alliance Marjorie Kovler Center for the Treatment of Survivors of Torture
Illinois SOA Watch
International Human Rights Law Institute, DePaul University College of Law
National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression–Chicago
National Lawyers Guild–Chicago Branch
Peace Pledge Chicago
Project NIA
Stateville Speaks

Susan Gzesh, Director, Human Rights Program, University of Chicago
Tamms Year Ten
The Provincial Council of the Viatorian Community
West Town Community Law Office
Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Adult Division, Chicago
Voices for Creative Nonviolence
White Rose Catholic Worker
Witness Against Torture

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