[Pnews] Guantanamo hunger striker asks US courts to save his life

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Oct 17 10:44:25 EDT 2017


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  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 
<https://reprieve.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=d176b31fc0ccbde9f3f3a6349&id=fb792b4851&e=f8755a10f3> 
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.”

ENDS

*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 
553 8140.

2. The legal documents filed in Mr Rabbani's case are available on request.
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