Imad Abdullah Hassan, a Yemeni detainee in Guantanamo that has spent 12 years in a cage without ever being charged with a crime, is suing President Obama. He says the forced feeding he has been subjected to in order to disrupt his hunger strike amounts to torture.
At The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf lists some of the allegations in the lawsuit:
- At Gitmo, they began to use tubes that were too big for Hassan’s nostrils.
- Rather than leaving them in place, they would insert and remove them twice a day.
- Prisoners were force-fed in what Hassan called “the Torture Chair.” Hands, legs, waist, shoulders and head were strapped down tightly. The men were also force-fed constipation drugs, causing them to defecate on themselves as they sat in the chair being fed. “People with hemorrhoids would leave blood on the chair and the linens would not always be changed before the next feeding.” They’d be strapped down amid the shit and blood for up to two hours at a time–though quicker wasn’t always better.
- That’s because Gitmo staff started force-feeding much more liquid into the prisoners. Sometimes they sped up the process, leaving the amount of liquid constant. “If Mr. Hassan vomited on himself at any time during the procedure, what he terms ‘the atrocity’ would start all over again.” Severe gastric pain was common.
- “Early on in this new and more abusive phase… authorities took Mr. Hassan and two others to another block so that others would see what was being done to them. This was obviously done as a deterrent to scare others into not hunger striking.”
One time after being subjected to this treatment, Friederdorf writes, Hassan “lost consciousness and spent two days in critical condition.” He now suffers from “severe gastric pain, damage to both his nostrils, sinus problems, and bouts of pancreatitis, sometimes brought on by the use of a high-fat nutritional supplement.”
Of course, the Obama administration denies force feeding amounts to torture, despite this harrowing account of what it’s like. Human rights officials from the United Nations have declared, however, that force feeding amounts to torture, saying “it is unjustifiable to engage in forced feeding of individuals contrary to their informed and voluntary refusal of such a measure.”
It’s worth noting that Hassan, like some 86 other Gitmo detainees, has been cleared for release by a judge who found there was not enough incriminating evidence to justify keeping him imprisoned. No matter: Obama continues to deny him his freedom and to criminally abuse him.
Read the sworn statement of Hassan’s attorney here.