Two more hunger-striking prisoners at Guantanamo Bay have gone to court to preserve tapes of their force-feedings, after a US judge intervened on 16 May to ensure the preservation of similar footage in the case of hunger striker Abu Wa’el Dhiab.
Legal charity Reprieve and lawyer Jon B. Eisenberg have submitted motions to the DC District Court on behalf of Ahmed Rabbani, a father of three from Pakistan, and Emad Hassan, from Yemen. The men, who have been held without charge or trial since 2002, are seeking to halt their abusive force-feeding and harsh punishment – part of the military’s efforts to break a long-standing hunger strike at the prison. (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/20494)
The tapes, the existence of which emerged last week, are said to document forced feedings and forcible cell extractions (FCEs), the brutal method whereby hunger strikers are dragged out of their cells to a feeding chair by armed guards. On Friday, Judge Gladys Kessler issued an order requiring the preservation of tapes relating to Mr Dhiab’s force-feeding and mistreatment.
The motions request the additional preservation and maintenance of videotapes and photographs relating to the treatment of Rabbani and Hassan, while Hassan also seeks disclosure of new, secret protocols for force-feeding hunger strikers. The motions state that the Department of Defense’s response to the petition so far has: “left open the possibility that evidence had in fact been destroyed and suggests that the Department of Defense did not even know and had not yet made any effort to determine whether evidence had in fact been destroyed.”
Reprieve attorney Cori Crider said: “Inconvenient evidence has a bad habit of turning up ‘lost’ at the base, especially tapes just like these. This means there is no excuse for any ‘dog ate my homework’ moments when our clients’ challenge to force-feeding comes up in court.”