Aletho News


US refuses to free ‘near death’ Gitmo hunger striker weighing 33 kg

RT | August 15, 2015

A prisoner of US military detention facility in Guantanamo Bay may soon starve to death, as after more than eight years of force-feeding his body is said to be unable to take the nutrients he is pumped with. The DoD opposed the ailing man’s release.

Tariq Ba Odah, a Saudi resident of Yemeni descent, was captured in Pakistan and held in Guantanamo facility since 2002. In 2009 he was cleared for release by the Obama administration, but remains in US custody. In 2007 he went on a hunger strike to protest his indefinite detention without charges. After more than eight years without taking food voluntarily, he weighs less than 34 kilograms and may soon die, his lawyer says.

“Common sense dictates that Mr. Ba Odah is starving because his body is failing to properly absorb and process the liquid calories and nutrients he is being force fed. No other conclusion is viable unless one presumes the government intends to maintain him at just 56 percent of his ideal body weight while he is on hunger strike,” Omar Farah, his lawyer provided by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), wrote in a legal memorandum.

The CCR sought to secure Ba Odah’s transfer on humanitarian grounds through a US federal court. But the habeas corpus petition has been opposed by the Department of Justice, which late on Friday submitted a filing opposing it. The filing was kept under seal, which is “rare and unnecessary,” as CCR’s Wells Dixon told the Guardian newspaper

Ba Odah’s lawyer Farah said the rights group was “deeply disappointed by this secret filing.”

“It is a transparent attempt to hide the fact that the Obama administration’s interagency process for closing Guantánamo is an incoherent mess, and it is plainly intended to conceal the inconsistency between the administration’s stated intention to close Guantánamo and the steps taken to transfer cleared men. The administration simply wants to avoid public criticism and accountability,” he said.

An anonymous US official confirmed the assessment to the British newspaper, saying the government wants to avoid embarrassment rather than protect classified information by sealing the motion. The source added that hardliners in the Pentagon, who consider hunger striking a form of warfare, would not allow Ba Odah’s struggle for release to be unchallenged. Otherwise it would encourage other hunger strikers and make the DoD appear suffering a substantive defeat, the reasoning goes.

The US mishandles the hunger strike issue at Guantanamo bay, a problem that is far from being unique to that facility, RT was told by Scott Allen, professor of medicine at the University of California, who was part of a task force that examined force feeding procedures that are carried out at detention centers.

“The key mistake that the Department of Defense has made in its approach to hunger strikes is that it thinks of them too often collectively,” he said. “If they are concerned about the life of this individual, which is what they had stated the goal was all along, they need to focus on his case and his case alone and develop a plan that would preserve his life and his dignity.”

President Barack Obama made shutting down Guantanamo Bay prison a campaign issue during his first campaign, but failed to deliver on the promise. The latest move by his administration is to speed up transfer of roughly half of the prison’s 116 inmate population to other countries and have the rest relocated into high security prisons on US soil.

The plan was criticized by rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, which said it fails to address the wider issue with keeping people detained for decades without charges in a denial of core western values.

August 15, 2015 - Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Reblogged this on YOUR PERCEPTION IS NOT REALITY.


    Comment by matrixbob | August 15, 2015 | Reply

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