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Reckoning with Torture

Librarians, professors, students, lawyers, writers, and others will read from government memos and personal testimonies in a program “Reckoning with Torture” Monday, April 12 at 7 p.m. at the Memorial Lounge of the Waterman Building on the University of Vermont campus.

The event — free and open to the public — is sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont and the University of Vermont Libraries. It is being held during National Library Week in recognition of the important work done by libraries to make information available to the public.

Much of the material to be read at the program comes from documents kept secret until the government was forced to disclose them through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests or court order. The ACLU obtained more than 130,000 pages of documents in 2009 after a protracted legal battle. The information in the documents provided Americans with the first comprehensive look at interrogation tactics used by the government following the events of 9/11.

The New York Times called the ACLU’s public records action one of the “most successful in the history of public disclosure.”

The “Reckoning with Torture” event will draw on those documents to relay the scope and breadth of the acts of abuse and torture taken against detainees, many of whom were never charged with crimes and some of whom were wrongly arrested, taken into custody, and later released.

Featured readers include:
• Philip Baruth, UVM English professor and writer
• David Budbill, writer
• Stephanie Farrior, Vermont Law School international law professor
• Robert Gensburg, Guantanamo detainee lawyer
• Traci Griffith, Saint Michael’s College communications professor
• Ateqah Khaki, ACLU National Security Program staff
• Trina Magi, UVM library professor
• Travis Nelson, UVM political science professor
• Hilary Neroni, UVM film and television studies professor
• Adelit Rukomangana, M.A. in theology and native of Rwanda
• David Sleigh, Guantanamo detainee lawyer
• Emma Vick, UVM student
• Sydnee Viray, social worker, advocate, and UVM staff member

Opening and closing remarks will be offered by Allen Gilbert, executive director, ACLU-VT, and Jeffrey Marshall, acting dean, UVM Libraries.

A list of the readings, and samples of the documents to be read, can be found at the ACLU-VT Web site — http://www.acluvt.org/news/torture_scripts.php

Read the 2009 New York Times story, “ACLU Lawyers Mine Documents for Truth.”

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