Yemeni man describes Gitmo force feeding in New York Times op-ed

 

A guard walks through a cellblock inside Camp V, a prison used to house detainees at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, March 5, 2013. REUTERS/Bob Strong
A guard walks through a cellblock inside Camp V, a prison used to house detainees at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, March 5, 2013. REUTERS/Bob Strong

A Yemeni man, one of dozens of prisoners on hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay prison, gave a dramatic account of force feedings and the conditions in the detention center in an op-ed published on Monday in the New York Times.

Samir Najal al Hasan Moqbel, who said he has been held for 11 years and three months without charges, wrote that he has lost about 30 pounds since he began to refuse food on February 10 and would not eat “until they restore my dignity.”

In March he was in the prison hospital and refused to eat. He described his first force feeding:

“A team from the E.R.F. (Extreme Reaction Force), a squad of eight military police officers in riot gear, burst in. They tied my hands and feet to the bed. They forcibly inserted an IV into my hand. I spent 26 hours in this state, tied to the bed. During this time I was not permitted to go to the toilet. They inserted a catheter, which was painful, degrading and unnecessary. I was not even permitted to pray.”

“As it was thrust in, it made me feel like throwing up. I wanted to vomit, but I couldn’t,” Moqbel wrote. “There was agony in my chest, throat and stomach. I had never experienced such pain before. I would not wish this cruel punishment upon anyone.”

The detention camp at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba holds 166 men, most of them captured more than a decade ago in counter-terrorism operations. The prisoners are not allowed contact with the media.

The U.S. Navy said 43 prisoners have been on hunger strike, including 11 who were being force fed nutrients. On Saturday guards swept through communal cells and moved prisoners into individual cells in an attempt to end the hunger strike.

Moqbel, 35, said one man weighed 77 pounds (40 kg) and another 98 (44.5 kg). He said his own last weight a month ago was 132 (60 kg).

Moqbel wrote that “no one seriously thinks I am a threat,” adding that “years ago” the U.S. military said he was a guard for Osama bin Laden. “They don’t even seem to believe it anymore. But they don’t seem to care how long I sit here, either.”

He had gone to Afghanistan from Yemen on the advice of a friend in 2000 to seek work and was arrested in Pakistan where he had fled after the U.S. invasion in 2001. He was held first in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and then was sent on to Guantanamo Bay.

Moqbel said the force feedings had continued in his cell, despite his begging for them to stop.

“When they come to force me into the chair, if I refuse to be tied up, they call the E.R.F. team. So I have a choice. Either I can exercise my right to protest my detention, and be beaten up, or I can submit to painful force-feeding.”

Asked about its decision to publish the article by Moqbel, New York Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said, “The value of today’s piece by the Guantanamo detainee is obvious and it was an easy call to publish it.”

“Guantanamo is run by the United States and these hunger strikes are happening. Readers have a right to know, in fact we would argue, they need to know about them.”

Moqbel said he remains in Guantanamo because the United States will not send detainees back to Yemen.

“I will agree to whatever it takes in order to be free. I am now 35. All I want is to see my family again and to start a family of my own.”

He told his story to his lawyers at Reprieve, a legal charity, through an Arabic interpreter, the New York Times said.

 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.