An inmate at Guantanamo Bay’s detention center for terror suspects is demanding the American people act to free him, insisting he is no more than an “unarmed captive.”
In a letter published by Al Jazeera, Moath al-Alwi complains of “bouts of violent vomiting and sharp pains in my stomach” because he is force-fed to counter his hunger strike.
The letter identifies him as “a Yemeni national who has been in U.S. custody since 2002,” but Judicial Watch, a watchdog on U.S. government actions, noted he served as Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard. He is a “top al-Qaida operative and a ‘veteran jihadist and fighter in UBL’s 55th Arab Brigade who participated in hostilities against the U.S. and coalition forces on the front lines and in UBL’s Tora Bora mountain complex.’”
The watchdog group blames the Obama administration for allowing the bin Laden brigade member “to publish a sob letter in an international media outlet.”
“Earlier in the year the administration let the mastermind of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, dispatch propaganda from his Guantanamo jail cell, undoubtedly aiding and abetting more terrorism,” the Judicial Watch report said. “That was disgraceful enough; allowing the al-Qaida operative, an enemy combatant who’s admitted being the architect of the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil, to issue a manifesto from his military prison cell.”
Now comes the al-Alwi “propaganda,” the group said.
The inmate complains that he is an unarmed captive and asks the American people to rise up and do something to restore his freedom.
“Col. Bogdan has explained our treatment by saying we are at war. But it has been 12 years and this is not a war. We are unarmed captives. I ask the American people, where is the freedom the U.S. touts? Do you condone what your government is doing to us? I know that governments do not always represent the voices of their people, and I pray that the American people do not want this, and more, that they will do something to stop it.”
Al-Alwi complains of “groin searches” and claims the U.S. has “withheld our medical treatment and confiscated our legal papers and Qurans.”
“Here, a peaceful hunger strike automatically places the prisoner on ‘disciplinary status,’ which involves being subjected to various forms of punishment. To discourage striking, the prisoner is moved from communal living to solitary confinement and is force-fed. Because I decided to peacefully protest my imprisonment here, the special mattress and medical pillows prescribed for my chronic back pain, all of my underwear, my electric razor, and even my bar of soap and toothbrush have been confiscated,” he wrote.
He describes the discomfort of his hunger strike.
“I, too, am strapped down and force-fed for over an hour every single day. During the session, I am constantly vomiting the feeding solution into my lap. As I am carried back to my cell, I cannot help but vomit on the guards carrying me. They put a Plexiglas face mask on my head to protect their clothes from my vomit. They tighten the face mask and press down on it, pushing it into my face. I almost suffocate because I am vomiting inside the facemask and am unable to breathe,” he wrote.
“Whip out the tissue box,” chides Judicial Watch, noting al-Alwi’s “whines” about being deprived of a “special mattress and pillows.”
“Aside from those imprisoned with me, nobody can truly understand how we suffer,” he states. “The colonel will not allow media into Guantanamo Bay, claiming he is protecting our privacy. No man here wants privacy from the media. The colonel fears that if the media comes in and meets with the prisoners, all of this daily brutality will be exposed. Hopefully this letter serves that end.”