Obama Turns Blind Eye to Gitmo Horrors

Hunger strikes have turned closing the prison into a matter of life and death, lawyer argues

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 29, 2013 1:57 PM CDT

(Newser) – Barack Obama continues to ignore the Guantánamo Bay prison, even as "its continued existence is literally a matter of life and death," writes lawyer Baher Azmy in the Daily Beast. Azmy's firm represents a number of detainees who are on hunger strike within the prison, and he depicts the horrific scenes of them being kept alive by guards who strap them into chairs and force-feed them by shoving tubes through their noses, down their throats, and into their stomachs.

"I am tortured in the restraining chair," one client tells him. "All my limbs are restrained and my clothes soaked from vomiting the formula mixed with water and laxatives." These men consider enduring such horrors their only option for peaceful protest. President Obama could end this, if he'd just drop his own refusal to repatriate anyone to Yemen, the country from which 90 of the remaining 166 detainees hail. Obama may be making a "political calculation" by ignoring Guantánamo. "But, in so doing, he would be ignoring a more serious moral calculation," Azmy writes. Click for his full column.

In this April 16, 2013 video frame grab reviewed by the U.S. military, a shackled detainee meets with medical personnel in Camp 6, at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, in Cuba.
In this April 16, 2013 video frame grab reviewed by the U.S. military, a shackled detainee meets with medical personnel in Camp 6, at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, in Cuba.   (AP Photo/Suzette Laboy)
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Ultimately, Obama’s failure to close Guantánamo is due to an absence of will, not an absence of authority. - Baher Azmy on the president's claims that Congress has prevented him from closing Guantánamo

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