Six Gitmo Detainees Finally Near Deportation
WASHINGTON (CN) - The U.S. government plans to transfer six Guantanamo Bay detainees to Uruguay, according to reports that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel secretly notified Congress of the military's intentions.
Among the detainees is said to be Syrian-born Mohammed Abu Wa'el Dhiab aka Jihad Dhiab, who sued the federal government over its practice of force-feeding detainees on hunger strike.
Dhiab, who has come closer than most other Guantanamo prisoners at forcing a change in the Pentagon's policies toward those who refuse food to protest their confinement, will likely have his lawsuit declared moot after being shipped to Uruguay.
Pakistani police arrested Dhiab in 2002 and he was taken to Guantanamo. Though U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler forbade the military from force-feeding Dhiab during a hunger strike in May, she lifted the ban a week later as his health deteriorated.
Judge Kessler wrote that she was faced with the "anguishing Hobson's Choice" of extending Dhiab's pain or letting him starve to death. Though she lifted the force-feeding ban, she put the military's policies under scrutiny by forcing the disclosure of 28 force-feeding videos.
Dhiab's attorneys noted that one declassified brief showed the Pentagon blaming its "illegal and uncivilized" action on Dhiab's belief that he has "genies" in his legs.
Force-feeding detainees involves strapping them into a restraint chair and pumping a liquid nutritional supplement into their stomach through a gastric tube placed through their nose and down their throat.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia is also hearing two other lawsuits filed by detainees over force-feeding, both of which are represented by Dhiab's lawyer Jon Eisenberg.
According to reports, the group exiting the prison will be the largest to leave at once since 2009, and will reduce the inmate population to 143. The detainees have been approved for transfer for more than four years with Hagel approving the transfers in March.
The detainees could be shipped to Uruguay as early as next month.