And in Uruguay, former Guantánamo prisoner Abu Wa’el Dhiab has awoken from a coma amid an ongoing hunger strike demanding he be allowed to leave Uruguay and reunite with his family in Turkey or in another Arabic-speaking country. Dhiab was imprisoned in Guantánamo for 12 years without ever being charged with a crime. While in Guantánamo, Dhiab also launched a hunger strike to demand his freedom. He was among a group of prisoners subjected to forced feeding. The Obama administration is refusing to release video of the forced feeding to the public, but did give the redacted videotape to a court, which reportedly shows graphic images of guards restraining Dhiab and feeding him against his will. Human rights groups have long said the forced feeding of Guantánamo prisoners amounts to torture. On Thursday, only hours after Dhiab awoke from his coma, Amy Goodman spoke to him in an exclusive Democracy Now! interview. He was lying on his bed, very weak, in downtown Montevideo. Goodman began by asking him how he feels.
Jihad Abu Wa’el Dhiab: “I feel really very, very worse. All my body hurt me, and my kidney, my headache, my stomach, my right side really bad. Many things. But I feel all my body hurt me.”
Amy Goodman: “There’s a battle in court in the United States to release the videotape of your force-feeding in Guantánamo. Can you describe what that force-feeding was like for you?”
Jihad Abu Wa’el Dhiab: “Like the United States always say in the media, 'Human rights, human rights, human rights.' There’s never in Guantánamo, don’t have any human rights. Never, never, never. He took the video from first time go to me in my cell to move me to chair and give me the tube for give me forced feeding. But if you see this video and see the guard, how treatment with me, how beat me, how make with me, that’s not human.”
Amy Goodman: “President Obama says he wants to close Guantánamo. Do you believe that will happen?”
Jihad Abu Wa’el Dhiab: “If he wants to close Guantánamo, he can. He can now. Now. He can give order, close Guantánamo. He can close Guantánamo. But he coward. He can’t take this decision, because he scared. But Guantánamo supposed to close, should be closed, Guantánamo, because Guantánamo, that’s not good for the United States. Never.”
Abu Wa’el Dhiab’s daughter is getting married this weekend in Turkey—an event Dhiab had longed to be at. He continues his hunger fast in Uruguay.