I’m on Hunger Strike in Guantanamo

Illustration of Ahmed Rabbani cooking with Guantanamo fencing behind, in pastJared Rodriguez/Truthout

By Truthout

There are very few freedoms at Guantánamo Bay prison, where I have been held without charge or trial — referred to as Guantánamo ISN 1461 — for over 16 years. The right to starve myself is one of them, but even then, they force-feed me, to spare themselves the embarrassment of my death.

Back in Pakistan, before I was kidnapped and tortured and flown halfway around the world in chains, I loved cooking. There is nothing more satisfying than preparing a hot meal for your family and sharing it with them. Here, I am allowed to cook for my fellow prisoners, but only in a microwave, and the guards could take even that away at any time. I never eat the food myself. I have been on hunger strike for seven years in protest at my indefinite detention. When everything else has been taken from you, this small measure of self-determination means a lot.

Ahmed Rabbani, pictured pre-detention
This photograph shows Ahmed Rabbani in Karachi, Pakistan, before he was sold to the U.S. for a bounty in 2002. (Courtesy of Reprieve)
Courtesy of Ahmed Rabbani

I was abducted from my home on September 10, 2002, and sold to the U.S. for a bounty, with the false story that I was a terrorist called Hassan Ghul. As a result of that, I was taken to the Dark Prison in Kabul, and tortured for 540 days. I refused to say I was Hassan Ghul because I wasn’t. Eventually the U.S. captured Ghul, and because he was deemed “cooperative,” they let him go. He went back to his old ways, and was killed by a drone in 2012.

I was rendered to Guantánamo in September 2004. I tried to obey the prison’s foolish rules for a long time before I gave up. I began hunger striking in earnest in 2013 when my patience finally ran out. Twice a day, they strap me into their torture chair and force a 110-centimeter tube up my nose.

My lawyers have now created a website where, as I approach 3,000 days on strike, you can follow my gradual disappearance. I was 170 pounds when they first seized me, and I am now down to 80 pounds. This means that 53 percent of me has “escaped” from this prison. It can’t go on forever of course, and I hope that I don’t get shipped home in a coffin — but I have to do something to peacefully protest.


Via https://truthout.org/articles/im-on-hunger-strike-in-guantanamo-i-dream-of-cooking-for-my-family/

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