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MCC students reschedule event on Gitmo poetry

CRYSTAL LAKE – A student peace group at McHenry County College has rescheduled a controversial event focusing on a book of poetry by Guantanamo Bay detainees.

Marc Falkoff, a Northern Illinois University criminal law professor who represented 16 detainees, plans to speak about a book that he edited titled “Poems from Guantanamo: The Detainees Speak” at 7 p.m. Feb. 4 at the MCC Conference Center, 8900 Route 14.

Falkoff initially was scheduled to speak at the college in December, but the event was canceled because of security concerns. The Student Peace Action Network, which invited Falkoff to speak, plans to have two additional officers from the Crystal Lake Police Department present at the event next week, MCC spokeswoman Christina Haggerty said.

SPAN had planned the December speaking engagement well in advance, but publicity about the event stirred up controversy as it coincided with funeral visitation for Sgt. Jason A. McLeod, a 22-year-old from Crystal Lake who died in a mortar attack in Afghanistan.

At that time, college officials and Falkoff received phone calls from people upset about the event and topic of discussion. Falkoff also received threatening phone calls

Both Falkoff and Molly McQueen, action coordinator for SPAN, had said they wanted to reschedule the event.

Falkoff told the Northwest Herald he has worked for 16 Yemenese detainees accused of being enemy combatants, although none were captured on battlefields.

His talk next week is expected to focus on the detainees, human rights, and what happened at Guantanamo. Falkoff will also be available to sign books after the program, according to a press release from SPAN.

If you go

Marc Falkoff presents “Poems from Guantanamo”

When: 7 p.m. Feb. 4

Where: McHenry County College Conference Center, 8900 Route 14, Crystal Lake

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