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Report on Torture, Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment of Prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. (Al Shihri)

In July 2006, The New York Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) published its Report on Torture, Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment of Prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. This report is based on accounts drawn directly from habeas counsels’ unclassified notes reflecting prisoner statements made to counsel during in-person interviews conducted at Guantánamo beginning in the Fall of 2004. Some information for that report was taken also from public sources compiled in Cecili Thompson Williams & Kristine A. Huskey, Detention, Interrogation, and Torture at Guantánamo Bay: Materials and Case Files, a report published by the law firm of Shearman and Sterling LLP in October 2005. The testimony by or about Mr. Yussef Mohammed Mubarak Al Shihri in the CCR report can be found below.

(CCR30) These large tubes—the thickness of a finger, he estimated—were viewed by the detainees as objects of torture. They were forcibly shoved up the detainees’ noses and down into their stomachs. No anesthesia or sedative was provided to alleviate the obvious trauma of the procedure. Yousef said that he could not breath with this thick tube inserted into his nose (which was so large it caused his nostril to distend). When the tube was removed, it was even more painful, and blood came gushing out of him. He fainted, and several of the other detainees also lost consciousness. The detainees were told by the guards: “we did this on purpose to make you stop the hunger strike.” They were told that this tube would be inserted and removed twice a day, every day until the hunger strike ended. Yousef described the pain as “unbearable.” Yousef explained that doctors were present as the Initial Reaction Force forcibly removed these [nasal gastric] tubes by placing a foot on one end of the tube and yanking the detainee’s head back by his hair, causing the tube to be painfully ejected from the detainee’s nose. When the detainees saw this happening, they begged to have the tubes remain, but the guards refused and continued to forcibly remove the tubes. Then, in front of the Guantánamo physicians – including the head of the detainee hospital – the guards took nasal gastric tubes from one detainee, and with no sanitization whatsoever, re-inserted it into the nose of a different detainee. When these tubes were re-inserted, the detainees could see the blood and stomach bile from other detainees remaining on the tubes. A person the detainees only know as “Dr. [name redacted]” stood by and watched these procedures, doing nothing to intervene. Yousef, who was a juvenile at the time of capture, relayed that guards told him that a U.S. court had ordered the force-feeding and that was the only reason that he and other prisoners complied with the force-feeding. He was “greatly disturbed,” according to his attorneys, to find out that no such order had been given and that he had been lied to. When his attorneys tried to meet with him a second time, they were told that he had removed his nasal gastric tube and was encouraging other prisoners to do the same (Center for Constitutional Rights 2006, 29f).

Primary Sources

Declaration of Julia Tarver, Majid Abdulla Al Joudi v. Bush, Civ. No. 05-0301, at para. 7 (Oct. 14, 2005).