Declaration of Obaidullah
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
OBAYDULLAH, Petitioner v. BARACK H. OBAMA, Respondent
Civil Action No. 08-1173 (RJL)
DECLARATION OF OBAYDULLAH
I, Obaidullah, son of Mir Nawaz Khan, declare as follows:
1. I am currently being detained in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and have been since October 2002. My ISN number is 762. I understand English and what is written in this declaration. I have personal knowledge of the facts stated her
2. I have been on a hunger strike for 50 days since approximately February 6, 2013. I have not taken any food from the guards since February 6 in protest to events of that week, and what has happened at the camp since then. That week, camp authorities asked all of the detainees in our block in Camp 6 to step outside of the cells while a "shake-down" of the entire block was conducted by U.S. soldiers. While we were all outside of the cell blocks, soldiers went into our cells, and searched what little personal belongings we have. This kind of very intrusive search had not been conducted for at least 4 or 5 years, since the early years at Guantanamo under President Bush. The searches were unexpected, sudden, and disrespectful. To my knowledge there was no incident which provoked the searches.
3. During the invasive searches, the soldiers confiscated detainees' personal itemst including blankets, sheets, towels, mats, razors, toothbrushes, books, family photos, religious CDs, and letters, including legal mail and legal documents, speci[a]l books and things allowed under the law of the camp.
4. I personally had the following items taken from me: blanket, sheet, towel, photos, medically necessary items, some of my legal documents, mail from my attorneys and family photos, documents from my family. This has been especially distressing for me because I have done nothing to provoke the authorities to take my belongings and comfort items that gave me a small sense of humanity.
5. Most disturbing, was the way in which the soldiers disrespected our Qur'ans. While the soldiers conducted their searches, I and other detainees saw U.S. soldiers rifling through the pages of many Qur'ans and handling them roughly. This constitutes desecration. It has not been searched in five yea[rs].
6. I had not participated in hunger strikes, or organized protests in the past. I have been patiently challenging my imprisonment in U.S. civil courts. But the latest actions in the camps have dehumanized me, so I have been moved to take action. Eleven years of my life have been taken from me, and now by the latest actions of the authorities, they have also taken my dignity and disrespected my religion. Our Quran is not a security issue and the sold[i]ers have never found anything in Qurans from the begi[nni]ng of GTMO.
7. The February shake-down which caused our strike, was the beginning of many other changes at the camp. The guards then also started being very disrespectful during our prayer time by, knocking on our doors while we prayed, laughing or talking loudly, and opening and closing doors. We had not had a problem with having our prayer time disrespected or interrupted in many years and it has become a problem after our hunger strike. They also restricted our exercise and started to relocate prisoners to different camps.
8. All of these actions showed me and the other prisoners, that camp authorities were treating us the way we were treated in the years under President Bush. In protest to the dehumanizing searches, confiscation of our personal items and the desecration of the holy Qur'an, I and the men at Camp 6 and some at Camp 5, waged a hunger strike on February 6, 2013. But our strike continues because conditions have gotten worse, not better, and there is no hope that we will ever leave here.
9. As our conditions and treatment got worse, many more prisoners joined the strike. Now, almost all of the prisoners in the camp are hunger striking except for the more older prisoners in Camp 5 and 6. There are so many men here who were declared innocent by the U.S. as long as 5 years ago, but they are also now living under these more harsh conditions just because the U.S. does not know where to send them. This is not right because the U.S. has said they have done nothing wrong, but they are still treated like prisoners.
10. The strike has led authorities to treat all of us more harshly even as our health is deteriorating. For the last 30 days, the authorities have lowered the temperature in Camp 6 so that it is freezing. Also last week for 1 day the authorities shut off water to the camps between the hours of 11AM to 8PM. Before the hunger strike, we were alloted 7 hours daily at the "Super Rec" facility. This is the large recreation facility where we could play soccer for example. After the hunger strike began, the authorities do not pennit Camp 6 prisoners any time at the Super Rec.
11. I have seen men who are on the verge of death be taken away to be force fed. I have also seen some men coughing up blood, being hospitalized, losing consciousness, becoming weak and fatigued, and being moved to Camp 5 for observation
12. Personally, I have lost a lot of weight. I am down from 167 pounds to 125 pounds. I am weak, and I have pain in waist, dizziness, I cannot sleep well, I fe[e]l hopeless, I can't exercise, my muscle became weaker in last 50 days, I have thrown up 5 times.
13. Depite the difficulties in continuing the strike, and the health effects I am experiencing and witnessing, we plan to remain on strike until we are treated with dignity, the guards stop trying to enforce old rules, our prayer and religion is respected, and our Qur'ans are handled with the care and sanctity required. I am losing all hope because I have been imprisoned at Guantanamo for almost eleven years now and still do not know my fate.
I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the foregoing is true and correct.
Signed this 27th day of March 2013, in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
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