April 26, 2007

> PEN American Center Festival (off-site)
> Torture: Seeking Truth and Accountability
> Military Commissions Act
> Ideological Exclusion: Censorship at the Border
> "An Evening Without..."
CONTACT: media@aclu.org

NEW YORK – Tonight leading writers, activists and journalists from around the world will be joined by luminaries from the United States for “Dirty Wars,” a night of readings to end torture, arbitrary detention and rendition.

The event is co-sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union and the PEN American Center. Detentions without trial, torture and secret prisons are all hallmarks of what were once called dirty wars. The two organizations said today that these policies, traditionally targets of U.S. criticism, are now touted as necessary tools in the “war on terror.”

“The Bush administration has claimed that secret prisons, the abuse of prisoners, and detention without charge are policies that are necessary to protect the nation from foreign threats,” said Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU’s National Security Project. “But these misguided and unlawful policies have only undermined the nation’s security, and by adopting them the Bush administration is turning its back on the very values that make the nation worth protecting.”

Readers will include Canadian novelist Lisa Appignanesi, writer Antoine Audouard, South African writer and activist Breyten Breytenbach, journalist Mark Danner, essayist and literary critic Dorothea Dieckmann, Academy Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney, Nobel Prize-winner Nadine Gordimer, Dutch writer and journalist Arnon Grunberg, actor Daoud Heidami, actor Daniel Oreskes, National Book Award-finalist Francine Prose, Emmy Award-nominated actress Gloria Reuben, poet Rose Styron and others.

The reading begins at 7 p.m.. Tickets are $10 at the door or $8 for PEN and ACLU members. Tickets can be purchased at the Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette Street, by visiting www.joespub.com or calling (212) 967-7555.

The ACLU is involved in several lawsuits to expose government abuse and challenge practices like the U.S. government’s policy of illegal kidnapping and rendition. For more information go to www.aclu.org/safefree/index.html or www.findhabeas.org.

“Dirty Wars” is a part of the PEN World Voices festival. For information on the participants and the festival go to www.pen.org/festival.


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