The United States government will decide Friday whether or not to release video of inmates being force-fed at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.
The U.S. Department of Justice has until Friday to either release footage of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay being coercively fed or to appeal a federal judge’s order that video of the abuse be made public.
In February 2013, prisoners began refusing to eat food to protest their conditions, including the fact that many of the 166 prisoners detained at the time had been there for more than a decade without charge or trial, while others continued to be imprisoned despite having been cleared for release.
At its peak, more than two-thirds of those imprisoned at the Guantanamo Bay facility in Cuba participated in the protest.
The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama responded with force-feeding, a process the International Committee of the Red Cross considers a violation of prisoners’ “human dignity.” At the time, a coalition of human rights groups, including Reprieve and the Center for Victims of Torture, denounced the practice as a violation of the Geneva Convetions, “which bar cruel, humiliating and degrading treatment.”
A federal judge agreed with the Red Cross and United Nations, ordering the U.S. government to release footage of the force-feeding process. The Obama administration insists that releasing the footage would harm U.S. national security.
A judge ordered the release of video showing abuse at Guantánamo. Tell the Solicitor General not to stand in the way https://t.co/HbDTOAW1Y5
— Reprieve (@Reprieve) January 19, 2016
Abuse still goes on,” said Crider, “and the footage I’ve watched proves it.”
A 2006 report from experts on the United Nations Human Rights Council said the method of force-feeding used at Guantanmo – a hunger strike also took place in 2005 under President George W. Bush – amounted to torture.
It is unclear how many inmates are being force fed-today. In December 2013, the Obama administration said it would no longer release information about the force-feeding of detainees, saying knowledge of their conditions posed a security threat.
In a video for Reprieve, musician and actor Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, subjected himself to force-feeding to demonstrate the process.