15.4.13 / FAB/ GUANTANAMO – BARBED WIRE
GUANTANAMO BAY HUNGER STRIKER – Held For 11 Years Without Trial – REVEALS HOW HE IS FORCIBLY FED WITH TUBES, STRAPPED TO A BED FOR 26 HOURS AT A TIME AND LEFT ‘WITHOUT DIGNITY VOMITING BLOOD’
– He was allegedly a member of Osama bin Laden’s security detail
– He has been at Gitmo 11 years after he was captured crossing the Afghanistan-Pakistan border
A hunger striking inmate who has been held at Guantanamo Bay for 11 years has written a horrific first person account of life inside the prison in which he vowed never to eat again until his captors ‘restore my dignity’.
Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel told of his ‘agony’ at being force fed twice a day by guards who have forced a pipe so far down his nose it has gone into his stomach.
On one occasion he was strapped to a bed for 26 hours so they could feed him during which time he was not allowed to go to the toilet.
In an opinion piece in the New York Times, al Hasan Moqbel demands that he be returned to his native Yemen – and blames President Obama personally for failing to let him go free.
He has been in Guantanamo since 2002 having been accused of being a guard for the late Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, a charge he dismisses as ‘nonsense’.
Now aged 35, al Hasan Moqbel is among at least 40 Guantanamo inmates who have been on hunger strike since February in protest at their treatment.
Last weekend dozens of detainees staged a mini riot armed with batons, broomsticks and plastic water bottles after the military authorities decided to end communal housing on one of the blocks.
Guantanamo, a US military base in Cuba, has previously been criticized as being a legal black hole where inmates have fewer rights than those who are held on mainland US soil.
‘Pain’: The prisoner claims he is painfully forcibly fed twice a day – tied down for hours at a time and attended to by nurses how are too busy to give each patient proper attention
Al Hasan Moqbel’s opinion piece appeared in the New York Times after he spoke to his lawyers at legal charity Reprieve.
He writes: ‘The only reason I am still here is that President Obama refuses to send any detainees back to Yemen.
‘This makes no sense. I am a human being, not a passport, and I deserve to be treated like one.
‘I do not want to die here, but until President Obama and Yemen’s president do something, that is what I risk every day.’
On March 15 al Hasan Moqbel was sick in the prison hospital when a team from the Extreme Reaction Force, which was eight military officers in riot gear, came into his room.
He writes: ‘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.
‘Agony’: The inmate claims he has ‘never experienced such pain before’ and says he wouldn’t wish it on anybody
‘They inserted a catheter, which was painful, degrading and unnecessary. I was not even permitted to pray.
‘I will never forget the first time they passed the feeding tube up my nose. I can’t describe how painful it is to be force-fed this way. As it was thrust in, it made me feel like throwing up. I wanted to vomit, but I couldn’t.
‘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.’
Al Hasan Moqbel writes that he is still being force fed two times a day and that his arms, legs and head are strapped down each time they come, which can be as late as 11pm when he is asleep.
He also claims that because there are so many on hunger strike there are not enough medical personnel to keep up.
‘The situation is desperate now. All of the detainees here are suffering deeply. At least 40 people here are on a hunger strike. People are fainting with exhaustion every day. I have vomited blood,’ he writes.
As a result al Hasan Moqbel says that the few nurses available are so rushed they spill the ‘food’ onto the prisoners’ clothes which he claims denies him ‘last shred of my dignity’
He writes: ‘During one force-feeding the nurse pushed the tube about 18 inches into my stomach, hurting me more than usual, because she was doing things so hastily.
‘I called the interpreter to ask the doctor if the procedure was being done correctly or not.
It was so painful that I begged them to stop feeding me. The nurse refused to stop feeding me. ‘
Al Hasan Moqbel is one of the more obscure of the 166 detainees still being held at Guantanamo.
The United States alleges he worked security for Osama bin Laden but he denies knowing the former terror leader.
He claims that he is not a terrorist and that he only traveled from Yemen to Afghanistan in 2000 when a childhood friend told him he could earn more than the $50 a month he was earning in a factory.
When he got there there was no work and after the Americans invaded in 2001 he left for Pakistan where he was arrested and sent to Guantanamo.
He writes: ‘I could have been home years ago – no one seriously thinks I am a threat – but still I am here.
‘Years ago the military said I was a ‘guard’ for Osama bin Laden, but this was nonsense, like something out of the American movies I used to watch.
‘They don’t even seem to believe it anymore. But they don’t seem to care how long I sit here, either.’