First Published Letter to Reprieve

Middle East Monitor
January 10, 2014

Reprieve team,

Hi guys. Warm greetings to all of the team from my brothers here, and of course from me. Thank you guys for your bravery and patience in a strange situation and in a strange time. This is definitely not an easy place to be. Yet, you have showed the world, your people and us that there are principles and morals, and there are people who still believe in them.

I mentioned in my last letter about the new tactics the doctors are using. They have stopped force feeding some brothers because the doctors said their weights were good. Last night, the doctor asked to meet with those who had stopped being fed. Tariq Ba’awada [Baada], a long-term hunger striker, had his feeding formula changed five days ago from regular Ensure to Two-Cal plus a cup of olive oil added and told to drink it. Tariq refused and has since stopped having anything except for 100 calories per day. He told me last night this was “to help me continue my daily performance.” A nurse came to him and she told him that his formula had changed to what it had been before so he went to be fed last night. His weight when he stopped feeding was 96 lbs., last night, it was down to 92 lbs.

Another brother, his name is Sohail (a Yemeni), lost six pounds in four days. He was told that the doctor will see him today for his feeding.

Yasseen (a Yemeni) has stopped eating and drinking anything for five days. He is with me in same block, in front [of] me. I can see him but I can’t hear him. His voice is so weak, and I really understand his situation. Three times during these five days he has been asked to meet the doctor, but he refused. He ate this morning, yogurt (plain, low fat) for a total of 100 calories, and half a cup of oatmeal and a cup of coffee which helped him be able to pray, read the Quran and talk to us.

Two brothers are still fed by the FCE (Forced Cell Extraction) team. Another two, Abdu al-Rahman Halapi (a long-term striker) and Gassan Al-Otapee (also a long-term striker) have [been] taken to hospital (Abdu al-Rahman) and P.H.U. (Gassan). We don’t know their current situation here, but it won’t be good.

Our situation hasn’t moved forward, but backwards. This is against nature. Everything moves forwards, like the hands of a clock, except for Guantánamo. Our clock is broken!

The hunger strikers’ number is still hovering around 17. But as people started talking about us in the news, the medical team have adopted a new strategy. If someone refuses to be force-fed and complains, the doctor stops feeding them. “Their weight is fine”, he says, “and it won’t be necessary for them to be fed.” Meanwhile, their actual weight is lower than the claimed weight.

One Yemeni brother (Abu Bakr Ibn Ali Muhammad Alahdal) is 80 pounds and he is fed by the Forced Cell Extraction (FCE) team, Guantanamo’s official riot police. Yesterday the FCE team beat him when they came into and out of his cell. He is 80 pounds with one broken arm. He cannot walk, just crawl from his bed to the faucet or toilet once he needs to use it! How can someone with this condition fight 8 armoured guards?

Another Yemeni brother (Moath Hamza Ahmed al Alwi) is 101 pounds and is also fed by the FCE team. Ahmad Rabbani walks to the feeding, and is brought back by the FCE team. There is a scheme here to avoid blame about the force-feeding. The corpsman comes asking the hunger striker if he wants feeding. If the answer is yes, the escort will come to take him. If the answer is no, he won’t be fed until it’s a critical situation. The FCE team will take him and they will feed him forcefully.

If anyone asks the Senior Medical Officer (SMO) why he force-feeds the hunger strikers, the SMO will say: “There is no force-feeding any more. The detainees chooses to be fed.” Do you see the trick? Also, the medical personnel play with the hunger striker numbers. When the doctor stops feeding four detainees, he decreases the total number of hunger strikers to 13. When their weight goes down and the doctors have to feed him, he cancels three or four others so he can keep the number of hunger strikers low. I am hesitating between refusing the feeding until the doctors decide to force-feed me, and waiting to see what will happen in the next two-three weeks.

I will leave you with peaceful wishes and thank you again.

Emad Hassan

Get original here