[Pnews] After 14 years of Guantánamo, US Govt faces deadline over release of force-feeding tapes

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jan 11 14:09:34 EST 2016

*After 14 years of Guantánamo, US Govt faces deadline over release of 
force-feeding tapes*

The Obama Administration has less than two weeks to decide whether to 
appeal a federal judge’s order that it must release videotapes showing 
the force-feeding of hunger-striking detainees at Guantánamo Bay – as 
the prison marks 14 years of existence.

US Government lawyers are nearing a key deadline, set for 22 January, in 
a court battle over a procedure which international bodies including the 
UN and Red Cross have said constitutes cruel, inhuman and degrading 
punishment. According to a recent Justice Department filing, Solicitor 
General Don Verrilli is tasked with making the decision before January 
22. It is not known whether he, or any top Justice Department or White 
House staff, have yet watched the footage.

The Guantánamo authorities have long faced criticism for the 
force-feeding of detainees engaged on 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 lawyers.  Sixteen major 
media outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, AP and 
Reuters, are seeking release of the tapes under the US Constitution.

The case will, if the Solicitor General decides not to appeal on January 
22, mark the first time classified force-feeding footage from Guantánamo 
has been released to the public. So far, only the court and 
security-cleared lawyers at international human rights organisation 
Reprieve have been allowed to review the tapes. However, the US 
Government has been ordered by a federal judge to release a censored 
version of them, and will have to either do so or appeal by the 22 
January deadline – a date which also marks exactly 7 years since 
President Obama signed an order to close the prison.

*Cori Crider, a director at Reprieve and one of the Guantánamo attorneys 
for Abu Wa’el Dhiab*, who is the subject of the footage, said: 
“Americans need to know - on this grim anniversary most of all - that 
everything hasn’t been cleaned up down at Guantánamo. Abuse still goes 
on and the footage I’ve watched proves it. I very much hope the 
Solicitor General will review the tapes himself and decide to release 
them promptly: if the President is serious about getting the job done 
and closing Guantánamo, he should be honest with the American people 
about what force-feeding detainees really looks like. It’s high time to 
release the tapes."


Notes to editors

1. Reprieve is an international human rights organization. Reprieve’s 
London office can be contacted on: communications [at] reprieve.org.uk / 
+44 (0) 207 553 8140. Reprieve US <http://www.reprieve.org/>, based in 
New York City, can be contacted on Katherine [dot] oshea [at] 
reprieve.org / +1 917 855 8064.
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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