A federal judge on Friday ordered the U.S. government to prepare to disclose videotapes of the force-feeding of a Guantanamo Bay prisoner. The prisoner, Abu Wa’el Dhiab, who has been held at Gitmo since 2002, has been on an extended hunger strike. The government intervened, forcibly removing him from his cell and force-feeding him though the nose, beginning in April of last year.
“Dhiab and several other prisoners have sued to try to stop the force-feedings,” the Los Angeles Times reports. “At one point, federal officials said they had video of Dhiab’s force-feedings, recorded between April 9, 2013, and Feb. 19, 2014.” Here’s more on those videos from the Los Angeles Times:
According to court documents, Dhiab wants the videos made public, saying, “I want Americans to see what is going on at the prison today.... If the American people stand for freedom, they should watch these tapes.” Federal officials had released the videos to Dhiab’s attorney, and a number of news outlets sued in June to make them public. The government argued, however, that releasing the classified videos would harm national security, by showing the physical layout of the prison, identifying guards who participate in the feedings, and creating the risk that others might use the videos for propaganda. In a 29-page opinion, [the judge] said it “strains credulity to conclude that the release of these videos has a substantial probability of causing the harm the government predicts.”
The ruling, which allows the tapes to be redacted so that they only show Dhiab, comes days before opening arguments are scheduled to be begin on “Dhiab’s effort to stop the forced feedings and cell removals,” the Guardian reports. The government is expected to appeal the ruling.