Guantanamo force-feeding is illegal, says UN body

Guantanamo force-feeding is illegal, says UN body: Reprieve comment

A United Nations panel has said that the force-feeding of hunger-striking detainees at Guantanamo Bay is a violation of the UN Convention Against Torture.

The report, released today by the UN Committee Against Torture, said that the practise "constitutes ill-treatment", and called on the US to halt it. The Committee also noted that "detainees’ lawyers have argued in court that force feedings are allegedly administered in an unnecessarily brutal and painful manner" - an apparent reference to US litigation brought by international human rights NGO Reprieve on behalf of cleared Syrian detainee Abu Wa'el Dhiab.

As part of those legal proceedings, the Obama Administration has until Tuesday (December 2) to appeal a recent court order to release over ten hours of classified footage showing the force-feeding of Mr Dhiab.

Commenting, Cori Crider, Strategic Director at Reprieve and Mr Dhiab's attorney,  said: “The UN is entirely right – abuse at Guantánamo is still happening on Obama’s watch, and I’ve seen the force-feeding footage to prove it. This assessment could not be more timely – the Obama administration has until next week to either face up to a court order to release these force-feeding videos, or to file an appeal, in hopes of covering up the evidence. The right course is clear – the American public has a right to see what’s being done in their name. Obama should release the tapes without delay, and end these abuses once and for all.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. For further information, please contact Reprieve’s press office: +44 (0) 207 553 8166 / +44 7792 351 660

2. The report by the UN Committee Against Torture can be read here.

3. Further detail on Reprieve's force-feeding litigation can be found at the Reprieve US website.