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Guantanamo Bay defense lawyer discusses ethics, politics and his experience defending a detainee


In coordination with its Center for Ethics, Muhlenberg College will present the Woodrow Wilson Fellow Public Lecture Sept. 27.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016 01:33 PM

The 7 p.m. lecture, "Ethics, Politics and the Quest for Justice at Guantanamo: Reflections of a Gitmo Defense Lawyer" will be given by renowned lawyer, human rights activist, military officer and scholar David Frakt. 

David FraktFrakt, the only defense counsel to successfully defend a detainee charged with war crimes before the Guantanamo military commissions, will reflect on this experience and discuss the broader ethical, legal, political and moral aspects of U.S. detention policies.

The detention center at Guantanamo Bay opened nearly 15 years ago, and quickly became infamous as a legal black hole where detainees were deprived of basic human rights. President Obama ordered the prison closed in 2009, but it remains open, and has come to symbolize torture, injustice and America's abandonment of the rule of law in the war on terror.

This event is also part of the political science department's 2016 Election Series programming.

The Muhlenberg College Center for Ethics' theme for the 2016-17 academic year is "War & Peacebuilding." The Center for Ethics will host related programming, including lectures and a Campus Reads program, from September through November. All events are free and open to the public.

Subsequent fall Center for Ethics events include:

Eric Fair reading and discussion of "Consequences, a Memoir"
Oct. 25, 7 p.m. in Moyer Hall's Miller Forum
Fair, a Bethlehem native and resident, will do a reading and discussion from his book "Consequences, a Memoir," which chronicles Eric's role as a contract interrogator for the U.S. military during the Iraq War. It is a powerful exploration of moral injury and was heralded by Phil Klay, writer and veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, as "An act of incredible bravery."

Campus Reads program on Pat Barker's novel, "Regeneration"
Nov. 11, Common Hour, locations around campus
On Veteran's Day the Center for Ethics will mark centennial explorations of WWI by coordinating a campus reads program. CFE will invite faculty, staff and students to join in reading Pat Barker's novel, "Regeneration," which explores complex issues around sanity, injury and war, and resonates well in the current moment. CFE will be asking people to sign up for the program by the end of September and will provide a free copy of the book for all participants. Participants will be assigned to groups and provided a location for meeting during Common Hour on Nov. 11 to discuss the novel. Prior to group discussions, coffee and refreshments will be available for participants in the Fireside Lounge of Seegers Union.

Through thematic lectures and events, the Center for Ethics serves the teaching and study of the liberal arts at Muhlenberg College by providing opportunities for intensive conversation and thinking about the ethical dimensions of contemporary philosophical, political, economic, social, cultural, and scientific issues. In service to its mission, the Center for Ethics hosts special events and programs, provides faculty development opportunities, and provides support for student programming. The Center and thematic programs are directed by full-time faculty members.

Founded in 1848, Muhlenberg is a highly selective, private, four-year residential, liberal arts college located in Allentown, Pa., approximately 90 miles west of New York City. With an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 2200 students, Muhlenberg College is dedicated to shaping creative, compassionate, collaborative leaders through rigorous academic programs in the arts, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences as well as selected pre-professional programs, including accounting, business, education and public health. A member of the Centennial Conference, Muhlenberg competes in 22 varsity sports. Muhlenberg is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.