J: Good afternoon, and thank you all for your presence here today. My name is Jessica Murphy, (and my name is Leila Murphy). On September 11, 2001, our father, Brian Joseph Murphy, was killed in the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. I was five, and my sister Leila was three, about to turn four.
L: We stand here today representing September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, an organization composed of people like us who lost loved ones during the tragic events of that day but remain committed to nonviolence. We abhor the government’s disregard for rule of law and its flagrant human rights abuses in the name of our father and other victims.
J: We seek justice for the crimes that led to our father’s death, yet the system set in place over the past seventeen years is anything but just. Guantanamo Bay Detention Center has failed to provide any semblance of justice and, instead, has compounded the tragedy of 9/11.
L: In the aftermath of the attacks, we were too young to understand the implications of 9/11. However, as we stand here today, we are outraged by the state-sponsored violence that has arisen out of fear and anger. Peaceful Tomorrows organized in 2002 to reject war and violence and to encourage the U.S. to respond to shocking, fatal crimes with respect for the highest standards of justice. We believe that protecting the rule of law is the only way to promote nonviolence and prevent attacks in the future.J: This past summer, we traveled to the naval base at Guantanamo as part of the federal government’s Victim Witness Assistance Program to watch pre-trial hearings in the “9/11” case against five men accused of planning the attacks that killed our father and three thousand others. Over seventeen years after the attacks, these individuals have still not been charged or tried, and any trial is unlikely to begin for at least two to three more years, possibly longer.
L: The makeshift legal system in place at Guantanamo is unconscionably expensive and agonizingly slow. The issue of torture is the elephant in the room; in the name of national security, the hearings are very secretive. Although we spent a full week in Guantanamo Bay, we were only permitted to watch two days of hearings due to discussions of “classified” information– mostly relating to the government’s horrifying Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation program.J: Meanwhile, since the detention center was first established, over seven hundred innocent men have been kidnapped, tortured, and held captive in abysmal conditions. As the government obstructs justice for 9/11 victims and their families, it has conducted its own cruel crimes against humanity.
L: The Military Commissions must be shut down, and the trial should be moved. The detention center must be closed immediately. Of the forty detainees who remain captive, only nine have been accused of any crimes. The remaining thirty-one detainees are held without charge or trial and have likely suffered unspeakable horrors. The continued existence of Guantanamo Bay is an injustice and a stain on the fabric of this nation.
J: We do not stand here today to ask for sympathy for our father’s death, but to ask for justice, both for the victims of 9/11 and for the victims of US violence in its aftermath. We hope to live in a world where future attacks can be prevented and where violence is not met with more violence. Thank you.