[Pnews] Guantanamo inmates starving amid new medical rules

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Oct 6 13:41:45 EDT 2017

  Guantanamo inmates starving amid new medical rules

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, 6 October 2017

Reprieve - Press Release <alice.gillham at reprieve.org.uk>

The authorities at Guantánamo Bay have ceased the ten-year practice of 
force-feeding hunger-striking prisoners, under a new policy by the Trump 

Some so-called 'forever' prisoners have been striking for as long as 
four years, peacefully protesting a lack of charges or a trial. The 
ten-year practice had been to force feed them when they have lost one 
fifth of their body weight. However, human rights organisation Reprieve 
understands that on September 20th, a new Senior Medical Officer (SMO) 
stopped tube-feeding the strikers, and ended the standard practice of 
closely monitoring their declining health.

While the total number of strikers is not unclassified, it is estimated 
to include six of the 24 'low value' prisoners. Among them is Ahmed 
Rabbani, detained without charge since September 2002 and on hunger 
strike since 2013. He reportedly weighs just 95 pounds, and is suffering 
internal bleeding.

Khalid Qassim, also held without charge since 2002, has likewise been on 
strike since 2013, and gone without any food since September 20. He has 
told his lawyers at Reprieve: “I can’t walk. My joints, my hips hurt me 
too much.” His blood sugar has dropped to 55.

Mr Qassim added: “Before the medical authorities at Guantanamo used to 
say we watch your health, meals or your weight, your health is 
important, if you’re in a bad condition, forcefeeding is required. After 
the 20th, they don’t say that.”

The prisoners have told Reprieve that the new policy, which is combined 
with offering them trays of food, is designed to force them to end their 
strike. “I don’t want to die,” said Mr Rabbani, “but after four years of 
peaceful protest I am hardly going to stop because they tell me to. I 
will definitely stop when President Trump frees the prisoners who have 
been cleared, and allows everyone else a fair trial.”

Commenting, *Shelby Sullivan-Bennis - Reprieve counsel for Guantanamo 
detainees -* said:

“This new Trump policy should not be implemented in secret. Not only 
will the detainees die as a result of their peaceful protest, but their 
deaths will spark still more anger if the military coerces them by 
manipulating their medical treatment. The Trump Administration must 
urgently allow independent medics to examine these detainees, before 
it’s too late.”


*Notes to Editors:*

1. Reprieve is an international human rights organization. Reprieve’s 
London office can be contacted on: adam.smith at reprieve.org.uk 
or +44 (0)7768 558435.
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/
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