The U.S. government has been ordered to redact and release footage of the force-feeding of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay Prison after a federal Court of Appeals rejected on Friday the Obama administration’s arguments for withholding the classified videos from the public. The court decision orders the government to redact 12 hours of video that show Guatanamo prisoner and hunger-striker Abu Wa-‘el Dhiab being brutally force-fed by U.S. military personnel.
The de-classification of the footage was first ordered last year when 16 U.S. news organizations intervened in the name of public interest in the abuse case Dhiab mounted against the U.S. government over his treatment in prison. A federal judge ruled in November 2014 that the tapes must be released, but the Obama administration appealed the decision on the basis that redaction would be too “burdensome” and that the footage could pose a national security threat.
The federal Court of Appeals has denied the government’s bid to overturn the ruling. The original court order to redact the footage in preparation for public release still stands. However, it the release date of the videos has not yet been determined.
”The Administration is fighting hard because once those videotapes are redacted, they are one step close to public release – and the government is one step closer to being held accountable for their treatment of Guantanamo detainees,” said Reprieve U.S. attorney for Dhiab, Alka Pradhan, in a statement. “Yet the harder the Administration resists, the more they confirm that they have much wrongdoing to hide.”