Cori Crider writes: He was wan, but he smiled. At a hospital here in Montevideo on Monday, my Guantánamo client Abu Wa’el Dhiab and I sat together for the first time without a shackle bolting him to the floor. My client grimaced in pain a lot – he has been on a hunger strike for the better part of the last two years, and it has gnawed at his spirit and his health. But he smiled: On Sunday, Abu Wa’el was finally released from the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, where he had been held for 12 years without ever being charged for a crime, despite the US government having cleared him in 2009.
As pale and thin as this man was, laying there in the hospital bed, a spark has returned to his eyes.
His ordeal may be over now, but there is much about Abu Wa’el’s health and mistreatment I still can’t tell you. The US military balked when I asked for the lab work it conducted just after our doctors saw him – the Pentagon would not so much as give me an official weight in those final days at Gitmo. Instead, the Defense Department moved up the date of his flight to Uruguay at the last minute, in an attempt to evade a damaging photo-op: an emaciated hunger-striker being carried off a US military plane. And in an ongoing court dispute, the Obama administration is still fighting a federal judge’s order to release video tapes showing the abusive force-feedings that Abu Wa’el suffered – over 10 unvarnished hours of his daily reality. [Continue reading…]