A gravely ill Yemeni man has become the first Guantánamo Bay prisoner to have his claims of abuse at the military base considered by a US court of law.
Emad Hassan (aka Imad Abdullah Hasan), held without charge in Guantanamo since 2002, has been force-fed more than 5,000 times since 2007 as part of the military's efforts to break his hunger strike, court documents say.
"All I want is what President Obama promised – my liberty, and fair treatment for others," Hassan said.
"I have been force-fed for seven years. This is not a life worth living, it is a life of constant pain and suffering. While I do not want to die, it is surely my right to protest peacefully without being degraded and abused every day," he continued.
Hassan's case presents the first genuine opportunity for courts to assess the legality of the methods used by the military to force-feed detainees at Guantánamo Bay.
It will be the first case requiring a US judge to review a Guantánamo prisoner's detailed testimony describing his treatment, and it will force the military to respond.
According to Eric Lewis, Chair of Reprieve US, Hassan's case "marks an historic step in the long battle to bring basic rights to the legal black hole at Guantánamo Bay.
"For over a decade, abused prisoners at the US military base have been denied any effective legal mechanism to challenge their treatment. This case calls upon US judges to restore the most basic rights, medical standards and human dignity to these men at Guantánamo Bay."
Hassan, who has been cleared for release since 2009, suffers from serious internal injuries as a result of force-feeding torture. He is still being tube-fed and, according to the motion, has been on hunger strike "nearly continuously since 2007."
The motion entitled "Imad Abdullah Hasan v Barack Obama" highlights the increasing brutality of the Guantanamo Bay force-feeding process, which the military has made so painful that only the most courageous peaceful protester can continue, Reprieve said.
The motion will be filed in the DC District Court on Monday by Eric Lewis of Lewis Baach, Jon B. Eisenberg and Reprieve US.
Hassan's legal team argues, with expert support, that force-feeding practices at Guantánamo Bay amount to torture. Among other things, the speed at which liquid is forced into some prisoners is a form of water torture that is similar to water-boarding – the form of torture that simulates drowning.