Federal appeals court denies Guantanamo detainees’ challenge to force-feeding News
Federal appeals court denies Guantanamo detainees’ challenge to force-feeding
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[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] on Tuesday denied [opinion, PDF] a request for a preliminary injunction to stop the force-feeding of Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] detainees on a hunger strike. Shaker Aamer [NYT backgrounder; JURIST news archive] and three other detainees are currently engaged in a hunger strike to protest their detainment at the naval base, which has continued despite the fact that all four have been previously cleared for release. The court held that the detainees “failed to establish their entitlement to preliminary injunctive relief,” as they did not meet the requirement of a likelihood of success on the merits of their claim. However, the court reversed two district court decisions, which had determined that the Military Commissions Act (MCA) [text, PDF] stripped federal courts of the necessary jurisdiction to consider challenges brought by Guantanamo Bay detainees. The circuit court held that “petitioners’ challenges to the conditions of their confinement properly sound in habeas corpus and thus are not barred by the MCA.” As a result, the detainees may return to the district court to challenge the practice of force-feeding. Regarding the ruling, Jon Eisenberg, the attorney representing the detainees, said [AP report] they plan to continue their challenge.

This is the latest development in Aamer’s Guantanamo Bay detention. In September Aamer filed a complaint [JURIST report] against UK security forces MI5 and MI6 with the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, noting that although he has been cleared for release by both the US and the UK, Aamer is still being held at Guantanamo Bay. In July Aamer, along with three other Guantanamo Bay prisoners, filed the original motion [JURIST report] in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, asking the court to order prison officials to stop the practice of force-feeding hunger strikers. In December 2012 Aamer filed another lawsuit [JURIST report] against the British security forces calling for his release to be granted. Amnesty International (AI) has denounced [JURIST report] Aamer’s detention at Guantanamo, calling it a “mockery of justice.” In November 2010 AI urged [JURIST report] the US and the UK to work towards the release of Aamer. AI UK Director Kate Allen called on Hague and US officials to give a specific timetable for Aamer’s release. The Hague and the US have been in discussions over Aamer’s release, but no formal indications of a release have been made. The UK agrees that if Aamer is released, they will be wiling to accept him, as they did with former detainee Binyam Mohammed [JURIST report].