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Contacts: The Rev. Dr. George Hunsinger, (609) 252-2114 The Rev. Robert Moore, (609) 924-5022

For Immediate Release: December 28, 2005 A major national Conference against torture entitled “Theology, International Law, and Torture:

A Conference on Human Rights and Religious Commitment” will take place January 13-15 at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, NJ.

The conference will feature distinguished voices from across the religious spectrum, law experts, and human rights advocates. Confirmed speakers include Mark Danner (author of "Torture and Truth"), James Yee (former Muslim Chaplain at Guantanamo Bay), Sr. Dianna Ortiz (a torture survivor), Rabbi Edward Feld (Jewish Theological Seminary) and Admiral John Hutson (retired Judge Advocate General). A full listing of speakers is at the end of this release.

“The goal of the Conference is to launch a National Religious Campaign Against Torture, and to educate and empower religious communities across the U.S. to become involved in this critical moral and spiritual issue,” said the Rev. Dr. George Hunsinger, Convener of the Conference and a Professor at Princeton Theological Seminary.

Dr. Hunsinger continued, “While some progress has been made with the recent passage of the McCain amendment, it is sadly surrounded by loopholes that will allow torture by the US to continue. Already Attorney General Gonzales has defined 'torture' as taking place only when harm near to death is inflicted. A companion amendment that also passed will effectively exempt the detainees at Guantanamo Bay from any legal protection under the ban. Moreover, the McCain provision is tied to the Army Field Manual, which is now being revised to permit many forms of interrogation formerly considered torture, or cruel and inhumane treatment.”

Resources to educate and empower local religious communities throughout the nation are being developed, and will be available and discussed at the Conference. The Conference is co- sponsored by Church Folks for a Better America, and the Peace Action Education Fund of the Coalition for Peace Action, both based in Princeton; The Churches’ Center for Theology and Public Policy, based in Washington, D.C; and by Human Rights First based in New York City.

All people of conscience, particularly those from communities of faith, are encouraged to register by January 6, 2006 to attend the conference. The registration fee is $25 per person. Limited housing at the seminary is available for $55 per night; group rates at nearby hotels are also available. A meal ticket for the entire Conference, with options for regular, vegetarian, Kosher, or Halal, is an additional $75 total per person. To register for the above, and/or for more information, contact Dan Thompson at the Coalition for Peace Action (609) 924-5022 or go online to

“This event is an effort to unify and mobilize religious communities on a fundamental issue of

faith and morality: torture. Every person is created in the image of God and thereby has a fundamental dignity that forbids torture of any person. This Conference will bring together an extraordinary range of religious leaders and top experts on human rights to launch a Campaign aimed at strongly addressing this basic issue,” said the Rev. Robert Moore, Executive Director of the Princeton-based Coalition for Peace Action, one of the Conference’s co-sponsors.

A nearly complete list of the Conference speakers is below, and a tentative schedule can be found at

Mark Danner - Longtime staff writer at The New Yorker and Professor of Journalism at University of California at Berkeley and Bard College. He is the author of "Torture and Truth," one of the most thoroughly documented exposes on torture by the US.

Sister Dianna Ortiz - Torture survivor, Executive Director of Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International (TASSC) and a policy analyst of Foreign Policy in Focus. She is the author of Blindfold's Eyes.

Chaplain James Yee - Former Muslim Chaplain at Guantanamo Bay.

Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im - A Muslim originally from the Sudan, distinguished Professor of Law at Emory University. He is the author of "Towards an Islamic Reformation: Civil Liberties, Human Rights and International Law."

Rabbi Saul Berman - Former President of Yeshiva University.

Father William Byron - Former President of Catholic University.

Father Drew Christiansen, SJ - Editor of America magazine and longtime advisor on Middle East affairs to the US Catholic Bishops. He is co-author of "Forgiveness in International Politics."

George Hunsinger - McCord Professor of Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. He coordinated an Open Letter on torture to Alberto Gonzales at the time of his confirmation as Attorney General of the U.S. signed by over 225 prominent religious leaders. He is the convener of this conference.

Admiral John Hutson - Dean and President of Franklin Pierce Law Center in New Hampshire and former chief Judge Advocate General of the US Navy. He testified before the US Senate Judiciary Committee on the nomination of Alberto Gonzales for Attorney General of the U.S.

Mohammad Farooq - Theologian, Islamic Society of North America.

Deborah Pearlstein - Director of the US Law and Security Program, Human Rights First and a former clerk for Justice Stevens of the US Supreme Court. She is a regular columnist for the "American Prospect" magazine.

Glen Stassen - Professor of Christian Ethics, Fuller Theological Seminary, former professor at Southern Baptist Seminary, author of "Just Peacemaking" and many other books.

And others from the fields of theology, law, government, and the military.