WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Friday ordered the public release of videotapes of a hunger-striking Guantanamo Bay prisoner being forcibly removed from his cell and force-fed.
Lawyers for the prisoner, Abu Wa’el Dhiab, have challenged his treatment as abusive.
Numerous news media outlets, including The Associated Press, asked the court on June 20 to unseal the tapes.
U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler granted the news media’s request, although Kessler said the tapes will remain sealed until some information on them is redacted. The material to be removed includes identifying information of everyone on the tapes except for the prisoner. She said faces other than Dhiab’s will be obscured, as will voices and names.
“We are very gratified by this decision, which will enable the American people to see with their own eyes the sorts of abuses that are being heaped on these peacefully hunger-striking detainees,” said Dhiab’s lawyer Jon Eisenberg.
“Once the truth is fully brought to light, we believe these terrible practices will come to an end,” Eisenberg said.
On Thursday, the judge rejected a request by the Obama administration to close a hearing into Dhiab’s case scheduled for Monday.
Dhiab, a Syrian prisoner, has been held at the Navy-run prison for terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since August 2002.