PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 51/036/2009
13 March 2009
Further Information on UA 31/09 (AMR 51/018/2009, 09 February 2009) Ill-treatment/Health concern/Legal
USA Binyam Mohamed (m), aged 30
Lakhdar Boumediene (m), aged 41
Approximately 50 other Guantánamo detainees
Binyam Mohamed was released on 26 February, and allowed to return to the UK. An unknown number of
detainees, including Lakhdar Boumediene, are still on hunger strike in protest at their indefinite detention, as
well as the conditions of detention at the US naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Most of them are being
In a statement issued through his lawyers the day he was released, Binyam Mohamed thanked all those who
had worked for his release. "I know I would not be home in Britain today if it were not for everyone’s support.
Indeed, I might not be alive at all." Binyam Mohamed also urged that campaigning should continue on behalf
of those men still held at Guantánamo Bay. "My own despair was greatest when I thought that everyone had
abandoned me. I have a duty to make sure that nobody else is forgotten."
The Review Team, set up on the order of President Obama, visited the detention facility in February and
reported that the detainees were being treated humanely. However, Amnesty International is still receiving
reports of detainees being ill-treated: this includes reports of beatings and cruel methods of force-feeding.
Lakhdar Boumediene, who has been held in Guantánamo for more than seven years, is continuing his hunger
strike, which he began in December 2006. He has given his lawyers further details of what was done to him
on 30 January: he was forcibly removed from his cell and beaten by members of the “Immediate Reaction
Force” team. He was then strapped into a chair that restrained his arms, legs, and head; one of his nostrils
has already been injured by force-feeding, so a tube was inserted roughly through his other nostril. Lakhdar
Boumediene added that the feeding process usually takes between an hour and 90 minutes, but on this
occasion was performed in only five minutes. It made him choke and vomit. Afterwards, he was put in solitary
confinement and forced to sleep and pray on a mat smelling of excrement and urine. According to his lawyers,
he was subjected to similar treatment for the next 10 days, and was only moved back to his usual cell, in
Camp Iguana, on 10 February, two days before they met with him.
The discrepancies in accounts of their treatment given by detainees or their lawyers and the findings of the
Review Team underscore the need for continuous independent scrutiny of the facility. One of the
recommendations of the Review Team was that the government "consider inviting non-governmental
organizations and appropriate international organizations to send representatives to Guantánamo."
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in English or your own
- calling on the authorities to give all Guantánamo detainees who have been on hunger strike immediate
access to adequate medical care and treatment;
- calling on them to ensure that all detainees are treated in accordance with international laws and standards;
- calling on them to allow visits by independent human rights experts and the UN special procedures;