Rappers M1 and stic.man, collectively known as dead prez, have teamed up with the Hip-Hop Caucus, the American Civil Liberties Union and Amnesty International to slam the alleged anti-terror tactics of the Bush Administration and call for the shutdown of the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The AFP reports that during a news conference in the Capitol Hill press briefing room yesterday (June 19), M1 compared the targeting of African-Americans by the U.S. government to current policies that deny accused terrorists the right to challenge their accusers in court. “We are victims of a war that has been directed at our community under the guise of the war on drugs,” M1 told a group of anti-war activists and reporters.
Civil liberties activists have long accused the government of using torture and coercion while interrogating terror suspects at the Guantanamo Bay facility. The contingent has plans for a petition asking Congress to restore habeas corpus—the legal action that allows a prisoner to challenge their detention in a court of law—and a rally on Washington on June 26. Following yesterday’s press conference, dead prez was scheduled to take part in a “Hip-Hop for Habeas” concert at Washington, D.C.’s 9:30 club. The press conference and concert both coincided with the unofficial “Juneteenth” celebration, which marks the day slavery was abolished in the United States on June 19, 1865. “We are here to link that struggle to this struggle,” said Reverend Lennox Yearwood, Jr., head of the Hip-Hop Caucus. “It is not about us or me when the richest country in the world is rolling back our rights.”