Hunger Strikes As Asymmetrical Warfare
We have no information about the treatment of hunger strikers in Bagram. But we do have information about the torture, abuse and violence inflicted on those who have decided to resist the terms and conditions of their imprisonment and use their right to protest peacefully.
These men are exercising their right to peacefully protest their imprisonment, and the conditions of their imprisonment. As Clive Stafford Smith of the legal charity Reprieve, explained:
These and other testimonies were also used in the animated feature film Guantanamo Bay: The Hunger Strikes. Narrated by actors David Morrissey and Peter Capaldi the feature depicts life and conditions inside Guantánamo Bay and how forced feeding the prisoners to break the hunger strikes is actually done
The latest evidence of the brutality inflicted on the prisoners engaging in this peaceful protest comes from Emad Hassan Abdullah, a 34 year old Yemeni who has been held at Guantanamo for 10 years. Emad has spent most of these years on hunger strike. Incredibly, the US government cleared Emad for release several years ago but he is still detained and subject to continued abuse. In a letter published in the Middle East Monitor on 10th January 2014, Emad described his treatment – including the forced feeding and the details of the methods used, as ‘horrific, barbarous torture’. He condemned the medical practitioners – doctors, nurses and assistants, who in violation of their oath, eagerly participate in this practice, asking the questions:
In fact, this is not the first time that a Guantanamo prisoner has written to detail his torture, and to appeal for help. A series of letters have revealed the conditions and reasons for the strikes, and the brutal reactions of the authorities. As The Guardian reported:
A Washington D.C. court of appeal recently ruled that hunger-striking prisoners can challenge their force-feeding in a federal court — and, more generally, as the New York Times described it, ruled that judges have “the power to oversee complaints” by prisoners “about the conditions of their confinement,” further explaining that the judges ruled that “courts may oversee conditions at the prison as part of a habeas corpus lawsuit,” and adding that the ruling “was a defeat for the Obama administration and may open the door to new lawsuits by the remaining 155 Guantánamo inmates.”