Jan. 6 Defendants Really Don't Like the DC Jail

They've asked a court to transfer them to Guantanamo Bay
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2022 2:32 PM CDT
Jan. 6 Defendants Want to Be Transferred to Guantanamo
Insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump breach the Capitol in Washington, Jan. 6, 2021.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

A group of Jan. 6 defendants awaiting trial in the District of Columbia jail have asked to be transferred to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where they say the detention facility "actually provides nutritious meals … sunlight exposure, top-notch medical care, is respectful of religious requirements, [and] has centers for exercise/entertainment." While it’s highly unlikely to be granted, the request was submitted via a handwritten letter in court on Friday, per Rolling Stone, which says the letter also complains about "vaccine requirements, critical race theory propaganda, and guards wearing Kamalla [sic] Harris attire."

The letter has 34 signatories who say they are being held "captive unconstitutionally as pre-trial detainees." Prominent names include Proud Boy Dominic Pezzola and Jessica Watkins of the Oath Keepers, both charged with seditious conspiracy and other serious crimes. Watkins is currently on trial with Oath Keepers founder Steward Rhodes and three other defendants in one of the highest profile prosecutions so far against Jan. 6 rioters and alleged conspirators. The DC jail in question has a longstanding history of poor conditions, which according to the New York Times were essentially ignored until the Jan. 6 defendants arrived.

Last October, a federal judge held jail officials in contempt after ruling they had "improperly delayed medical treatment" for Jan. 6 defendant Christopher Worrell, per the Times. As Rolling Stone also notes, several right-wing personalities have claimed the Jan. 6 defendants are being tortured. These include Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who visited the DC facility and compared it to a "prison of war camp." And Tucker Carlson put out a three-part series drawing comparisons to both Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Some 780 detainees have been held in the US military’s Guantanamo Bay facility since it was opened in 2002; 36 prisoners remain, according to the Times' Guantanamo Docket. (More Capitol riot stories.)

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