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Guantánamo Detainee First To Challenge U.S. Government in Court

March 17, 2014  ·  Posted by Sarah Berlin

A detainee at the Guantánamo Bay prison in Cuba has filed a legal challenge to the United States government in U.S. District Court. Already notorious for torture allegations and the ongoing detention of prisoners without due process, the prison has come under fire recently for forcing-feeding prisoners who have been on a hunger-strike for almost a decade. 

Emad Abdullah Hassan is a prisoner from Yemen who has been detained at Guantanamo, without a charge, since 2002. Hassan began his hunger strike in 2007 and claims that since then, guards have force-fed him thousands of times through a brutally painful procedure that has caused internal injuries.

Hassan tells Truthout that he has a right to live free from such pain and injustice:

"All I want is what President Obama promised - my liberty, and fair treatment for others. I have been cleared for five years, and I have been force-fed for seven years. This is not a life worth living; it is a life of constant pain and suffering. While I do not want to die, it is surely my right to protest peacefully without being degraded and abused every day," Hassan said in a statement released by the British human rights organization Reprieve, which filed for a preliminary injunction Tuesday to halt the abusive procedures, with attorneys Eric Lewis and Jon B. Eisenberg ...

Hassan's legal team said force-feeding practices at Guantánamo amount to torture designed to cause gratuitous pain in an effort to silence the prisoners. The lawyers say the speed at which liquid is forced into prisoners' stomachs is a form of water torture that is similar to waterboarding, and that prison officers forcefully remove nasal feeding tubes after each feeding, inflicting significant pain.

Hassan is the first Guantánamo detainee to take on the United States since a judge ruled last fall that courts of appeal can hear cases regarding conditions of confinement. Prior to the ruling, detainees had no way to legally challenge the abuse they say they've endured. 

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