Archive for July, 2013

Guantánamo Hunger Strike: Nabil Hadjarab Tells Court, “I Will Consider Eating When I See People Leaving This Place”

Yesterday, I wrote about a motion submitted to the District Court in Washington D.C. by Reprieve, the legal action charity, and Jon B. Eisenberg, an attorney in Oakland, California, on behalf of four prisoners taking part in the prison-wide hunger strike at Guantánamo that is about to enter its sixth month. According to the authorities, 106 prisoners are taking part in the hunger strike, although the prisoners claim that the true number is at least 120.

The four men are Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, Nabil Hadjarab and Ahmed Belbacha, both Algerians, and Abu Wa’el Dhiab, a Syrian, and they are amongst the 86 men (out of 166 prisoners in total) who were cleared for release by President Obama’s inter-agency Guantánamo Review Task Force in January 2010, but are still held — in part because of Congressional opposition, but also because of indifference on the part of President Obama.

Despite promising to resume releasing prisoners in a major speech on national security issues on May 23, which he can do through a waiver that exists in the legislation passed by Congress that otherwise makes it all but impossible to release prisoners, the President has not released a single one of these 86 cleared prisoners since that promise was made.

As well as being cleared prisoners and hunger strikers, both Ahmed Belbacha and Nabil Hadjarab are currently being force-fed, along with 42 others out of the remaining 166 prisoners. Read the rest of this entry »

Shaker Aamer and Other Prisoners Ask US Court to Stop the Force-Feeding and Forced Medication at Guantánamo

Lawyers at the London-based legal action charity Reprieve, and co-counsel Jon B. Eisenberg, an attorney in Oakland, California filed a motion with the District Court in Washington D.C. on Sunday evening, on behalf of four prisoners in Guantánamo, including Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison. The motion was submitted in response to the authorities’ force-feeding and forced medication of hunger strikers engaged in a prison-wide hunger strike that will enter its sixth month on Saturday. According to the authorities, 106 of the remaining 166 prisoners are taking part in the hunger strike, protesting about their indefinite detention, but according to the prisoners themselves the total is at least 120.

The motion, available here, asks Judge Rosemary Collyer to issue a ruling to compel the government to “stop force-feeding in the prison and stop force-medicating prisoners, particularly with Reglan, a drug used by the US during the force-feeding process that when used for extended periods of time can cause severe neurological disorders, including one that mimics Parkinson’s disease,” as Reprieve put it in a press release. Please also see additional submissions by Cori Crider, Reprieve’s Strategic Director, and by Steven Miles, Professor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota, and by Stephen Xenakis, a retired brigadier general and Army medical corps officer with 28 years of active service, who is now an Adjunct Clinical Professor at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences.

Shaker Aamer is one of 86 prisoners cleared for release by an inter-agency Guantánamo Review Task Force, appointed by President Obama, which issued its recommendations three and half years ago. The three other prisoners represented in the motion — Nabil Hadjarab and Ahmed Belbacha, both Algerians, and Abu Wa’el Dhiab, a Syrian — were also cleared for release three and a half years ago, but are still held despite President Obama’s promise to overcome restrictions imposed by Congress and resume releasing prisoners, which he made in a major speech on national security issues on May 23; in other words, nearly six weeks ago. Since that time, not a single prisoner has yet been released. Read the rest of this entry »

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
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