Guantanamo detainee challenges force-feeding practices

[JURIST] Emad Abdullah Hassan filed a federal lawsuit [text, PDF] on Tuesday in the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] that challenges the force-feeding procedures at the Guantanamo Bay military prison. Hassan, who has been held in Guantanamo since 2002, alleges that he has been force-fed more than 5,000 times since 2007 [IBT report] in an effort to end his hunger strike. Hassan's case will be the first time at a court will review the force-feeding procedures used at Guantanamo since the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] last month that federal judges have jurisdiction to hear such cases. Hassan's attorney argues [Al Jazeera report] that the force-feeding procedures amount to torture and says that he hopes the lawsuit will force the military to hand over documents regarding detainee policies and procedures.

The treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] has raised human rights concerns internationally, and, in recent months, the US has grappled [JURIST op-ed] with the complexities of the laws of war and the due process rights of detainees. In January President Obama [official website] reiterated [JURIST report] his commitment to closing the military prison by the end of 2014 as the US shifts away from a "permanent war footing." That same month, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] released a statement demanding [JURIST report] that the US close Guantanamo, calling the prison's continued operation a "prime example of the US' double standard on human rights." Also in January, the panel review board (PRB) administered by the Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] under Executive Order 13567 [text] concluded its first review and cleared [JURIST report] a former Guantanamo detainee for transfer to Yemen.

 

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