Guantánamo force feeding videos thought to show 'gratuitous brutality'

By agency reporter
June 5, 2014

Lawyers for Mohammad Ahmad Ghulam Rabbani, a Pakistani father of three held for over a decade without charge in Guantánamo Bay, have sought a court order compelling the Obama administration to release videotapes of his treatment.

The legal charity Reprieve says the requested tapes are thought to document a period of particularly 'gratuitous brutality', in which Mr Rabbani contracted a chest infection as a result of botched force-feeding procedures, leading him to repeatedly vomit blood and lose consciousness. They will also include footage of Mr Rabbani's 'Forcible Cell Extractions' ('FCE's), whereby a team in riot gear storms the cell of a prisoner who does not comply.

The motion of 3 June comes a week after federal judge Gladys Kessler ordered the Obama administration to disclose 34 video tapes showing the force-feeding and FCE of Syrian hunger-striker Abu Wa’el Dhiab. Mr Dhiab's videos will be reviewed by Reprieve lawyers at the Secure Facility in Washington, DC after the court's handover deadline of 13 June. The motion seeks Mr Rabbani's videos for review at the same time.

In a declaration filed to the DC District Court, Mr Rabbani has described how an improperly-inserted feeding tube caused him to develop chest pain, as a result of which he asked for a day’s rest from force-feeding. His request was ignored, and the following day he “vomited blood on himself three or four times” before losing consciousness – yet was still taken to the feeding chair by the FCE team. Mr Rabbani has also described how an improperly-inserted feeding tube led to his airways being blocked with liquid, and considerable pain from the repeated insertion and withdrawal of the tube, often multiple times in each feeding session.

Mr Rabbani's Reprieve lawyer Cori Crider said: "Mr Rabbani has repeatedly reported disturbing abuse at the hands of the Guantánamo authorities, as have so many of his fellow hunger-strikers. Yet the prison denies it, and has flatly refused even the smallest requests to make the force-feeding process more humane. These videos can only help us get to the truth. The court must be allowed to see exactly what is going on daily at Guantánamo Bay."


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