Target: Judge Gladys Kessler, United States District Court for the District of Columbia
Goal: Praise decision to keep force feeding trial open to the public
A federal judge recently rejected a plea by the Obama Administration to keep the public from viewing the trial for a lawsuit filed by a Syrian Guantanamo Bay detainee who endured barbaric force feeding. Justice Department attorneys argued that the public disclosure of sensitive information in the trial posed a risk to national security, and asked that the trial be closed to the public. The presiding judge, the Honorable Gladys Kessler, refused the request noting the public’s right to observe the testimony of witnesses in order to ensure a fair and unbiased trial.
Abu Wa’el Dhiab, a Syrian national, was brought to Guantanamo Bay on no charges in 2002, and was cleared for release in 2009. Dhiab is still being held in Guantanamo Bay, and in 2013 joined a hunger strike in protest of his continued detention. He and several others have been hunger striking on-and-off since then.
The hunger strikes, which could result in eventual death, caused the United States government to implement extreme force feeding measures rather than address the issues at hand. The process involves forcing a tube down the detainee’s noses through which liquid nutrients are funneled into the esophagus. The process has been deemed unsafe by hundreds of doctors internationally and was labeled by inmates and experts at the United Nations Council for Human Rights as torture.
Dhiab is now filing a lawsuit against the government for the treatment he received in detention. The trial will examine the legality of force feeding, and could open up the way for further legal action aimed at stopping the procedure altogether. It is important that the trial be open to the public view to prevent another one of the coverups so often associated with the practices at Guantanamo Bay. Sign the petition below to commend Judge Kessler’s ruling, which will help ensure a fair and transparent trial.
Dear Honorable Gladys Kessler,
The trial for a lawsuit filed by a Guantanamo Bay detainee concerning the legality of force feeding will remain open to the public, thanks to a recent court decision. While the Justice Department argued that some of the evidence at the trial may jeopardize national security, it was ruled that only a few exhibits, such as videos of the force feeding procedure in action, will be closed to the public.
In order to promote a fair trial free of the coverups often associated with Guantanamo Bay, it is important that the public be allowed to observe. We, the undersigned, praise your ruling, which favors transparency with an issue too often clouded by the government.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jonathunder via Creative Commons