Guantánamo

Journalists seek public access to Guantánamo force-feeding videotapes

A screen grab from a military handout video dated April 10, 2013 offers a rare glimpse of a restraint chair used for forced feedings  in the prison camps psychiatric ward, called the Behavioral Health Unit, at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
A screen grab from a military handout video dated April 10, 2013 offers a rare glimpse of a restraint chair used for forced feedings in the prison camps psychiatric ward, called the Behavioral Health Unit, at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. THE MIAMI HERALD

Sixteen news organizations on Friday formally sought public access to videotapes that show force-feeding of a Guantánamo Bay detaines.

In a 34-page legal filing the news organizations including McClatchy, the Associated Press, The New York Times and the Washington Post seek to intervene in the ongoing challenge by detainee Mohammed Abu Wa’el Dhiab.

A 42-year-old Syrian native, Dhiab has been held since 2002 and has been cleared for release for several years. Represented by lawyers with Reprieve, among others, Dhiab is currently trying to convince a federal judge to issue a temporary injunction blocking the feeding. Twenty eight tapes have been turned over to the defense team, showing Dhiab’s extraction from his cell and his subsequent feeding, but these remain sealed.

“Although the government has classified the videotapes, it is no secret that force-feeding is being used at Guantánamo, nor is there any secret how it is being used,” the news organizations’ brief notes.

The news organizations further assert that “the continued sealing of the videotape evidence...constitutional and common law rights to inspect and copy court records.”

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