Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Guantanamo "an abhorrent aberration", says Sr Helen Prejean, author of "Dead Man Walking'

Catholic News reports that during her visit to Australia to prepare for an opera based on her book, Dead Man Walking, Sr Helen Prejean says that Guantanamo Bay is an aberration and a corruption of US values and that the release of David Hicks should be a priority.

"Guantanamo Bay is an abhorrent aberration of everything that my country ought to be about," she told reporters in Sydney yesterday, the Australian reports.

"I think it's because we do execute people. It just so smacks of empire."

Sr Prejean also said the release of Australian terror suspect David Hicks should be a priority.

"When you have a human life caught in that impossible situation where you don't have recourse to any of the means of justice, you want to get him out of there," she said.

I heard the good sister being interviewed by Alex Sloane on Canberra ABC radio this morning. Down to earth and talking turkey, Sister Helen reflected on her life and her work on behalf of victims of the US justice system. Her compassionate approach to issues surrounding the death penalty could not fail to impress even the most hardened advocate of state sanctioned murder.

Writing on her website, Sr Helen indicates "it would be sinful not to raise my voice publicly in opposition to the life-destructive policies and practices of the Bush administration...The reasons cited are many, among them:

* his reckless pursuit of war in Iraq, which has helped to destabilize the entire middle East
* his approval of torture
* his zealous promotion of imprisonment and executions
* his fiscal policies which make the wealthy people more wealthy and poor people poorer
(During the past six years poverty in the U.S. has risen 17%)"

Her condemnation of the 'Guantanamo syndrome' is not surprising as it represents one of the most egregious manifestations of the "life-destructive policies and practices of the Bush administration".

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