American “peace mom” Cindy Sheehan called for the closure of the U.S.
military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as she and other activists
arrived here Saturday to draw attention to the nearly 400 terror
suspects held at the remote site.
is among 12 human rights and anti-war activists who will travel across
this Caribbean island next week, arriving at the main gate of the
Guantanamo base in eastern Cuba on Thursday – five years after the
first prisoners were flown in.
“Anyone who knows me, knows that
I am not afraid of anything,” Sheehan said when asked about the
possibility of U.S. sanctions for traveling to communist-run Cuba,
which remains under an American trade embargo.
“What is more important is the inhumanity that my government is perpetrating at Guantanamo,” she told reporters.
49, of Vacaville, Calif., became an anti-war activist known as the
“peace mom” after losing her 24-year-old son Casey in Iraq in April
She drew international attention after camping outside
President Bush’s Texas ranch to protest the war in Iraq, and has been
arrested numerous times for trespassing.
Sheehan arrived in
Havana early Saturday evening with trip organizer Medea Benjamin of the
California nonprofit groups Global Exchange and CODEPINK: Women for
Benjamin said group members believed they were exempt
from U.S. travel restrictions on Cuba because they were traveling as
professional human rights activists who will attend a daylong
international conference in the Cuban city of Guantanamo on Wednesday,
the eve of their protest.
The U.S. military still holds about
395 men on suspicion of links to al-Qaida or the Taliban, including
about 85 who have been cleared to be released or transferred to other