U.S. Government moves to suppress footage of a Guantánamo force-feeding

The U.S. Government has moved to suppress footage of a Guantánamo detainee being force-fed. A US federal judge’s ordered the release of the tapes, but the government is trying to stand in the way by appealing the judgement.

The tapes show the force-feeding and ‘forcible cell extraction’ of Abu Wa’el Dhiab, who is represented by Reprieve lawyers and has since been released from Guantánamo.

Reprieve lawyers are virtually the only people outside government to have seen the footage and have described it as ‘disturbing’, but are forbidden under classification rules from revealing its contents.

“It’s disappointing that – yet again – Obama’s lawyers have suppressed the evidence that shows most eloquently why the President is right, and Guantánamo ought to close. I hoped for better from the Solicitor General, and from an Administration that promised to be ‘the most transparent in history’. Make no mistake – the force-feeding tapes would make your blood run cold. One assumes that is why they have fought so hard to keep it secret. We’ll keep pushing for the truth in the Court of Appeals.”
Cori Crider, Reprieve Strategic Director and attorney for Guantanamo detainees

The Guantánamo authorities have long faced criticism for the force-feeding of detainees engaged in peaceful hunger-strikes in protest against their detention without trial. After it emerged that the prison had been video-taping such procedures, one detainee, who has since been released, had those videos disclosed to his Reprieve lawyers. Sixteen major media outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, AP and Reuters, are seeking release of the tapes.

“It is wrong to hide behind national security concerns when the Government wants to hide its mistaken actions from public view. Our national security requires the release of these tapes, and accountability for the cruel treatment imposed on men trying to call attention to their endless and lawless detention without trial.”
Eric Lewis, attorney and Chair of Reprieve US