Guantanamo prisoner recounts ordeal

The file photo shows a detainee with guards at the US prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

A prisoner currently on hunger strike in the notorious US prison in Guantanamo Bay has described the pain of being force-fed.

Ahmed Belbacha, a 43-year-old Algerian detainee at the prison told through his lawyer on Wednesday that the process “hurts a great deal” and many prisoners throw up as a result.

Å“When they force feed us in Camp 6, they shackle our feet with metal chains and shackle our arms and hands to stomach with metal chains. Then they put us in a force feeding chair and tie us with belts,” Belbacha said.

Camp 6, a 200-cell penitentiary style building, houses the majority of the detainees incarcerated at the Guantanamo Bay prison.

Å“Some of the newer medical staff they sent down — because there are so many strikers — are afraid during feeding and it shows. I do not think Iâ„¢m intimidating as I weigh at most 120 pounds now,” he added.

Earlier this month, the United States dispatched additional military medics to the prison complex as the number of prisoners going on hunger strike increased.

Å“Still when one of the new nurses, she was perhaps 40, started to feed me, I saw that her hands were shaking. I asked whether it was her first time ever to force feed someone. ËœYes it is,â„¢ she responded,” Belbacha went on to say.

Belbacha has been held at the prison on the Cuban coast for over eleven years, although he was cleared for release six years ago.

Around 100 prisoners have been protesting against their indefinite detention by refusing to eat. The hunger strike began in February when inmates demanded to be heard in court.

Reports say that the prison officials are force-feeding the inmates via tubes snaked up their nose and into their stomach. The treatment is considered as torture by international rights groups.

On Wednesday, some 150 doctors and other medical professionals wrote an open letter to US President Barack Obama, asking him to allow them to treat Guantanamo hunger strikers.

Å“It is clear that they do not trust their military doctors. Without trust, safe and acceptable medical care of mentally competent patients is impossible. Since the detainees do not trust their military doctors, they are unlikely to comply with current medical advice,” read the letter published in the Lancet medical journal.

The Guantanamo prison was initially established on January 11, 2002 by former US President George W. Bush to hold suspects captured in Afghanistan and elsewhere after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Obama famously promised in early 2009 to close the prison within 12 months, but four years on, the controversial prison remains open. He has put the blame on Congress for his failure to make good on his promise.


This article originally appeared on: Press TV