This week, a federal court in Washington D.C. hears unprecedented arguments over the practice of force-feeding inmates who endanger their lives by going on hunger strikes at Guantanamo Bay.
While the hearing will focus on the legality of the practice, the judge ruled separately on Friday for the release of 28 videos showing prisoner Abu Wa'el Dhiab being force-fed through his nose. The Obama Administration had argued the videos would jeopardize national security and create dangerous propaganda. U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler wrote it "strains credulity to conclude that the release of these videos has a substantial probability of causing the harm the government predicts."
Several news organizations, include the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian and the Associated Press, along with human rights groups and Dhiab himself want the videos unsealed. An appeal is expected, but the Justice Department is still reviewing the decision and considering its options, according to The Miami Herald’s Carole Rosenberg.
How would the videos affect public opinion on force feeding? AirTalk has debated the legal, ethical and moral considerations of the practice, but what is different is the international implications. How would such tapes be viewed in the Arab world? How would the tapes affect America's reputation? What would happen if Dhiab was not forcibly fed and died as a result of his hunger strike?
Laura Pitter, Senior National Security Research, US Program, Human Rights Watch
Jeffrey Addicott, Lt. Colonel (U.S. Army, ret.); Professor of Law at St. Mary's School of Law in San Antonio, where he is the director of the Center for Terrorism Law; Addicott's a 20 year JAG officer and was senior legal counsel to the Green Berets