[Pnews] Guantanamo hunger striker asks US courts to save his life
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Oct 17 10:44:25 EDT 2017
Guantanamo hunger striker asks US courts to save his life
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, 17 October 2017
A hunger-striking prisoner at Guantanamo Bay has asked the US courts to
intervene to halt a new round of abuses at the prison. Ahmed Rabbani
is one of just 26 remaining ‘forever prisoners’ who will never be
charged or tried, but whom President Trump has vowed never to release.
Mr Rabbani, from Pakistan, has been held at the prison camp since
2004. Mr Rabbani was a case of mistaken identity when he was detained in
Pakistan in 2002; he was a taxi driver mistaken for a known extremist,
Hassan Ghul, and sold by Pakistani authorities to the US for a bounty.
He was tortured for 545 days in US custody in Afghanistan before being
rendered to Guantanamo.
Along with other prisoners, Mr Rabbani has been on hunger strike for
over four years, in protest at his detention without trial. Legal
documents – filed in Washington DC this week by Mr Rabbani’s lawyers at
human rights organization Reprieve and US firm Lewis Baach Kaufman
Middlemiss – detail how the prison authorities have begun withholding
medical assistance to the men, in an attempt to break their hunger strike.
According to Mr Rabbani and other prisoners, instead of force feeding
them in the painful way previously done, Guantanamo medical staff have
adopted a strategy of allowing the men to starve; denying them basic
medical checks until their organs begin to fail and they become
seriously ill; whereupon, when they are half dead, they will be kept
half alive in forever-detention without trial. Mr Rabbani has told his
lawyers at Reprieve that he weighs around 90 pounds (6 stone 6).
Mr Rabbani is asking the DC District Court to order the prison
authorities to allow him immediate medical treatment and an independent
medical evaluation, and to provide careful medical oversight of the strike.
Commenting, *Mr Rabbani’s lawyer at Reprieve, Clive Stafford Smith,*
said: “Ahmed Rabbani’s peaceful protest expresses a simple and just
request – after 15 years, charge me, or release me. Instead of trying to
break this strike in ever more barbaric and fruitless ways, the US
authorities must urgently recognize that they cannot simply hold people
like Ahmed indefinitely without charge or trial. The prison must
urgently provide proper medical assistance to them. President Trump
should stop his foolish grandstanding over dying men who are guilty of
no crime, and take steps to release them.”
Eric L. Lewis,*Senior Partner at LBKM and Chair of Reprieve US, *said:
“Mr. Rabbani’s hunger strike is the one means he has to call attention
to his outrageous, un-American deprivation of liberty, which is now in
its 16th year. He does not want to die; he wants to be treated
humanely. The government has adopted a new policy of ignoring his
medical needs and allowing irreversible damage to his health. It is
immoral and illegal. At a bare minimum he is entitled to proper medical
care and humane treatment.”
*Notes to Editors:*
1. Reprieve is an international human rights organization. Reprieve’s
London office can be contacted on: media at reprieve.org.uk, or +44 (0) 207
2. The legal documents filed in Mr Rabbani's case are available on request.
/10 Queen Street Place, London, EC4R 1BE./
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