POLITICS

Obama Administration Keeps Fighting To Keep Gitmo Force-Feeding Videos Secret

The prisoner's lawyer said the footage was so disturbing she had trouble sleeping after she saw it.
Protesters wearing orange jumpsuits depicting Guantanamo Bay detainees participate in a rally outside of the White House
Protesters wearing orange jumpsuits depicting Guantanamo Bay detainees participate in a rally outside of the White House in Washington Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, calling for the closure of the detention center at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration indicated on Thursday that it would seek to continue to keep secret heavily redacted videos showing a former Guantanamo Bay detainee being force-fed.

Justice Department attorneys notified a federal court in Washington on Thursday that the government would appeal an order that would have allowed the public to see the videos on Friday. A federal judge last year had ordered the release of the edited videos showing former Guantanamo prisoner Abu Wa'el Dhiab being force-fed and forcibly extracted from his prison cell. The government had argued that the videos would be used as Islamic State propaganda, "inflame Muslim sensitivities" and "subject the U.S. Government to criticism," though they maintain the videos show no wrongdoing by military personnel. Several media organizations argued for the release of the videos.

U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler previously said the government had fought to keep the case from advancing "at every single step" and called the decision to appeal her previous order as "frivolous an appeal as I have ever seen."

Dhiab had been cleared for release from Guantanamo since 2009, but remained imprisoned by the U.S. government on the remote military base in Cuba until last year. He had engaged in a hunger strike in protest of his indefinite detention. A lawyer representing Dhiab who saw the videos said she was so disturbed by them that she had trouble sleeping after viewing them.

Under Kessler's order, the videos will not be unsealed until an appeals court resolves the dispute. As of Thursday, 91 detainees remain at Guantanamo, including 34 who have be cleared for transfer under certain security conditions.

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