Once secret video recordings of a Guantanamo detainee being force-fed by his U.S. captors must be released to lawyers for review, a U.S. federal judge ordered on Wednesday.
The ruling marks the first time the US government has been ordered to give detainees’ lawyers videotapes of force-feedings and follows a protracted battle by the legal teams trying to defend those imprisoned at the off-shore prison against abuse.
Though specific to one detainee, a Syrian cleared for release named Abu Wa’el Dhiab, the development is a meaningful legal victory for those demanding an end to the inhumane treatment and endless detention of individuals at the facility.
“It is very encouraging that the rule of law is finally coming to Guantanamo, so that perhaps Mr. Dhiab’s situation can be resolved,” said Cori Crider, strategic director of Reprieve, the UK-based human rights group that represents Dhiab and other prisoners. “While the photographic evidence of his abuse is secret, it will at least allow the judge to see what is happening to him.”
Amidst a wave of hunger strikes at the controversial detention center, Dhiab was among dozens of inmates who were strapped down and given what are called “enternal” feedings in which tubes are forced down their throats and pumped with a nutrient mixture. Human rights and legal experts contend the practice amounts to torture and detainees who have undergone the procedures have described it as intensely painful.
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