US judge unseals Guantanamo force-feeding videos

A US federal judge Friday ordered the Obama administration to release 28 videos showing force-feeding at the Guantanamo Bay prison.

In a dramatic move at the start of a court hearing on the feeding technique, US District Judge Gladys Kessler ruled in favor of 16 news organizations that had sued to see the videos.

The 28 videos show a “forcible extraction team” putting a feeding tube up the nose of Abu Wa’el (Jihad) Dhiab then force-feeding him, one of his lawyers, Eric Lewis, told AFP.

“There are procedures in place that cause unnecessary pain, are not related to any legitimate security objective and there are ready alternatives that can allow it to be done in a more humane and less painful manner,” Lewis said.

Dhiab, a Syrian national held since 2002, was cleared for release in 2009 but has remained at the US naval base in Cuba for more than a decade without charge or trial.

He is suing the Obama administration in a bid to stop force-feeding for hunger strikers, saying the practice is inhumane. The case is set to be heard Monday in Kessler’s court in Washington.

Kessler, appointed by Bill Clinton, also ruled against the government on Thursday, when she denied a government request to close proceedings to the public.

The US Justice Department said it was “reviewing the decision and considering our options.”

As of August this year, there were 149 inmates still at the extraordinary prison at the eastern tip of Cuba set up under former president George W. Bush after the September 11, 2001 attacks.