Gitmo detainee requests immediate relief

Human rights lawyers on March 26 filed an emergency motion (PDF) in the US District Court for the District of Columbia alleging that guards at Guantánamo Bay have denied drinking water and sufficient clothing to a Yemeni prisoner. The motion was filed only a day before a fact-finding visit to the US detention center in Cuba by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and the lawyers contend that such treatment is being used to undermine an ongoing hunger strike by Musa’ab Omar al-Madhwani and 30 additional inmates.

In support of their argument that al-Madhwani’s issue is a matter of life and death, his lawyers also attached to the motion an affidavit from psychiatrist and retired general Stephen Xenakis, who opined that the hunger protest and lack of adequate drinking water increases the prisoners’ chance of incurring “gastrointestinal infections and a quick demise.” Although the US Department of Justice (DoJ) has not yet filed a response to the motion, a spokesperson for the prison is reported to have said that all prisoners are provided with bottled water and that the tap water is safe to drink. White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest on March 27 told reporters that President Barack Obama and his administration are “closely monitoring the hunger strikes at Guantanamo Bay.”

From Jurist, March 28. Used with permission.