The Deafening Silence of Pseudo-Civil Rights Stalwarts on the Jan. 6 Political Prisoners

July 20, 2022 Updated: July 26, 2022


If Americans need any more evidence that justice is no longer blind in the United States, they need look no further than the horrific treatment of the Jan. 6, 2021, protesters—with dozens having been subjected to cruel and unusual punishment and alleged torture for doing what most of the House Democrats did in June 2016: obstructing an official session of Congress. In fact, some of the Jan. 6 defendants are the very definition of political prisoners.

We would expect civil rights leaders to join together to condemn these disgraceful injustices, especially the Democrats who went unpunished for their obstructing an official session of Congress for a far longer length of time than did the Jan. 6 participants.

Instead, there’s a deafening silence from a civil rights movement that has now morphed into nothing more than a race-baiting organ of the Democratic Party that summons others to not only further oppress the political prisoners, but also to go after their families and anyone who supported President Donald Trump.

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Democrat members of Congress, including Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), center, and Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), left, participating in a sit-down protest seeking a vote on gun control measures on the floor of the House on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 22, 2016. (Rep. John Yarmuth via AP)

My office has been informed by numerous attorneys defending these prisoners that the United States’ self-proclaimed “guardian of liberty,” the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), has completely ignored requests for the organization to intervene on behalf of the alleged human rights abuses suffered by the Jan. 6 prisoners. These individuals, many of whom have been charged with nonviolent crimes, have been held in pretrial confinement for more than a year; have been beaten, starved, and forced to live in unsanitary conditions; haven’t been allowed visits from their families; and have had medical care withheld—just to name some of the constitutional violations that have allegedly taken place.

Other Jan. 6 protesters who found themselves spared from unjust pretrial confinement have also seen their lives completely destroyed. Many who were charged have found their savings depleted thanks to costly legal fees and drawn-out proceedings. They have lost their jobs and have had their families’ lives upended.

One defendant, Matthew Perna, took his own life on Feb. 25 as a direct result of the mental and legal torture he endured. Perna was advised by his attorney that pleading guilty was the best way for him to move forward with his life and that he was looking at no longer than six to 12 months behind bars. Instead, the week before his sentencing hearing, he was informed that his hearing would be postponed and that prosecutors were seeking to add a “terrorism enhancement” to his case that would have increased his sentence to almost six years in prison. This twisted and politically motivated abuse by our government became too much for Perna to endure.

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Matthew L. Perna spent 20 minutes in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. He took his own life on Feb. 25 after learning prosecutors were seeking a longer jail term. (Left: @TaylerUSA/Twitter; U.S. Department of Justice/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

This begs the question, where is the tax-advantaged ACLU and why are they ignoring calls to investigate these abuses? For that matter, where are all of the former civil rights stalwarts who breathlessly present themselves as the ones who are dedicated to the Constitution and ensuring equal application of the law?

The Biden administration, the corrupt Department of Justice, and their sycophants in the media have done a masterful job of making it completely taboo to even address the basic and very evident civil rights issues at the heart of many of the Jan. 6 cases.

The same types who were outraged over the treatment of foreign terrorists at Guantanamo Bay are now silent when it comes to the even worse travesties we see playing out in countless Jan. 6 cases against American citizens who are supposed to have their God-given constitutional rights defended.

Last August, more than 70 House Democrats wrote to President Joe Biden to urge him to close Guantanamo Bay. They expressed grave concerns for the “health and safety” of the terrorist prisoners, some of whom may have the blood of thousands of Americans on their hands.

“We have a responsibility to treat detainees at the Guantanamo prison humanely and make appropriate accommodations to provide for their medical care,” the Democrats’ letter states.

Yet where is this same level of concern for our own American citizens? Will one congressional Democrat and more than just a handful of Republicans have the courage to stand up and demand due process and humane conditions for those involved in the Jan. 6 events?

As a judge, I visited many prisons and confinement facilities, and as a congressman I’ve visited the Guantanamo Bay facility multiple times. The conditions at Gitmo make the D.C. jail cells look like an HGTV dream home.

What we’re witnessing right now with the treatment of the Jan. 6 prisoners and other defendants is the weaponization of our once-great justice system to target and destroy political opponents. That can be expected in a banana republic, but it should never be allowed or tolerated in the United States of America.

Yet, to organizations like the ACLU, that’s OK because these individuals committed the most heinous crime imaginable: Most of them supported Trump.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Louis Buller Gohmert Jr. has been a U.S. representative from Texas's 1st congressional district since 2005. Gohmert is a former jurist and was part of the Tea Party movement.