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Thursday, December 9, 2021

Protection Attorneys Transfer to Block Drive-Feeding of Guantánamo Prisoner

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GUANTÁNAMO BAY, Cuba — One of many 5 males accused of conspiring within the Sept. 11 assaults is refusing to eat after being positioned in isolation and has been instructed he may very well be force-fed, his legal professionals mentioned in a authorized submitting that requested a navy courtroom to intervene.

Attorneys for the person, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a 49-year-old Yemeni who had been held by the C.I.A. earlier than being moved to Guantánamo, described the specter of force-feeding as the primary of its variety within the long-running death-penalty case, and psychologically traumatizing for his or her shopper.

In the course of the George W. Bush administration, the defendants within the Sept. 11 case had been held in secret C.I.A. prisons the place some detainees had been tortured and, after they went on starvation strike, had been subjected to a quasi-medical strategy of “rectal refeeding” or “rectal hydration.”

The courtroom submitting, dated July 9, is the primary signal of protest on the maximum-security jail the place the previous C.I.A. detainees had been relocated in April from a dilapidated if extra communal facility that frequently suffered energy outages and sewage backups.

A spokesman for the Protection Division, Mike Howard, mentioned on Monday that not one of the 40 detainees had been being fed involuntarily “at the moment.” He added that “we don’t use solitary confinement at Guantánamo,” reflecting a long-held place by the navy that being positioned alone on a cell block doesn’t represent solitary confinement as a result of a detainee has the chance to talk with guards, legal professionals, medical employees and linguists.

No date has been set for the beginning of the trial. Mr. bin al-Shibh and the opposite 4 males who’re accused of conspiring within the assault have been in pretrial proceedings since arraignment in 2012, and Mr. bin al-Shibh not too long ago obtained a brand new lead lawyer, David I. Bruck, who focuses on defending prisoners in capital instances.

To complicate issues, the case at present has no trial decide. It had been managed in a caretaker standing by the previous chief decide, Col. Douglas Ok. Watkins of the Military, who retires on the finish of the month.

Mr. bin al-Shibh has lengthy been thought-about essentially the most risky of the previous C.I.A. prisoners at Guantánamo. He has been repeatedly faraway from courtroom proceedings for interrupting with complaints of vibrations shaking his cell and painful pinpricks on his pores and skin, which he claims are a part of an almost two-decade U.S. marketing campaign of sleep deprivation.

Folks with data of his circumstances mentioned he continued to understand the issue in his new cell, and would shout at night time and canopy the surveillance digital camera, prompting guards to position him in isolation round June 25.

Since then, he has refused meals “to protest his isolation,” in keeping with a 12-page emergency submitting that asks a decide on the navy commissions to ban his pressured feeding.

“Mr. bin al-Shibh doesn’t search to die or injure himself,” the pleading mentioned. “He doesn’t even search to finish his self-discipline. As a substitute, he seeks to finish his isolation and return to his earlier location, the place his fellow detainees might be conscious of what’s occurring to him as earlier than.”

Mr. bin al-Shibh was “positioned in a disciplinary standing” as a result of he assaulted one other detainee and for “destruction of presidency property,” an obvious reference to damaging the surveillance digital camera in his jail cell, in keeping with a Protection Division official who spoke concerning the case on situation of anonymity.

Protection Division officers declined to say what the present, accepted type of force-feeding is on the jail. At instances, guards have shackled prisoners to a hospital mattress and administered intravenous drips. Extra usually, the detainee is shackled right into a restraint chair and medics snake a tube up a detainee’s nostril and into his abdomen after which pump vitamin inside.

The C.I.A. used one other technique, which concerned shackling a prisoner to a gurney or laying him out on the ground and inserting meals or liquid by a tube inserted within the prisoner’s anus. This was in the course of the years when its captives had been held at secret websites in overseas nations.

Detainees among the many 780 males and boys who’ve been held at Guantánamo since January 2002 have periodically gone on starvation strikes to protest their circumstances, and the navy has by no means permitted one to starve himself to demise.

“The medical group ensures that detainees which may be conducting self-imposed fasting aren’t creating injury to their long-term well being,” Mr. Howard mentioned. “Any detainee who chooses to conduct a self-imposed quick is made conscious of the implications of this determination.”

Jail employees members instructed Mr. bin al-Shibh on July 3 that, if he didn’t begin consuming, he may very well be force-fed as quickly as this previous weekend, in keeping with the submitting.

His legal professionals requested for a courtroom order to stop the feeding, or for the courtroom to “assessment the procedures for force-feeding to make sure they don’t seem to be unnecessarily invasive or dangerous.” Their submitting additionally sought the usage of a course of beneath which certified medical specialists decide {that a} prisoner is in “imminent hazard of demise” or a critical well being menace and search courtroom permission to force-feed him.

Mr. bin al-Shibh will eat, the legal professionals wrote, if he might be close to different prisoners, even in disciplinary standing.

Guantánamo immediately has 40 detainees. The few identified to refuse meals are long-held basic inhabitants prisoners who, commanders have mentioned, typically drink a can of Guarantee when confronted with the specter of being tackled, shackled and strapped to a restraint chair to immobilize them for feeding.

However related remedy has not been used on the so-called high-value detainees like Mr. bin al-Shibh as a result of they’ve been described as fearing the rectal refeeding strategies the C.I.A. employed. In recent times they’ve been allowed to eat in small teams, however their new jail apparently doesn’t allow as many communal alternatives.

Mr. bin al-Shibh is accused of getting organized a number of the Sept. 11 hijackers whereas in Germany, the place he and the opposite males lived earlier than the assaults. He additionally reportedly aspired to be a hijacker himself by repeatedly making use of for a visa to america, however he did not obtain one.

He was captured on Sept. 11, 2002, in Pakistan and was held by america, or a proxy, till his switch to Guantánamo in September 2006. In U.S. custody he has been “subjected to quite a few violations of bodily autonomy, together with pressured shaving and compelled nudity,” his legal professionals wrote. As soon as in navy custody, he “has complained of steady harassment designed to disrupt his day by day life, sleep, functioning and relationship with counsel.”

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