Ahmed Zaid Salim Zuhair - Hunger Strike

Hunger Strike

In May 2008 the Gulf News reported that Zuhair and Abdul Rahman Shalabi are the two remaining captives who have been on the hunger strike that started in August 2005.

On 25 October 2008 the Associated Press reported that new documents, documenting Guantanamo guards struggles to force-feed Zuhair had recently been filed in court. According to the report:

...according to court documents reviewed by The Associated Press, guards have struggled with him repeatedly, at least once using pepper spray, shackles and brute force to drag him to a restraint chair for his twice-daily dose of a liquid nutrition mix force-fed through his nose.

Joint Task Force Guantanamo guard force commander Colonel Bruce Vargo offering the justification for the use of force, stated:

"ISN 669 has a very long history of disciplinary violations and noncompliant, resistant and combative behavior."

According to an affidavit filed by Ramzi Kassem, one of his attorneys, official records document that between August and October Zuhair lost over 16 kilograms, dropping to under 45 kilograms. Kassem's affidavit stated that when he last visited Zuhair, in mid November, he kept vomiting uncontrollably, because he was allergic to the liquid food substitute used during his force-feedings.

"Mr. Zuhair lifted his orange shirt and showed me his chest. It was skeletal. Mr. Zuhair's legs looked like bones with skin wrapped tight around them."

Pauline Storum, a Joint Task Force Guantanamo spokesmen, stated that camp authorities monitored the captives' health closely.

US District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered an independent medical examination for Zuhair.

On March 17, 2009, Ben Fox, writing for the Associated Press quoted a court statement filed by Colonel Bruce Vargo, commander of the camp's guard force, who explained that camp authorities could not agree to move Zuhair to the Camp 4, due to his history of infractions of the camp rules. He stated it would set a bad precedent, and that other captives held in camp 6 might follow his example, so that they too could be moved ot camp 4.

Vargo's statement acknowledged that the camp's riot squad was routinely called upon to extract Zuhair from his cell for his twice-daily force-feedings. His statement said Zuhair had committed 80 infractions of the camp rules in the last four months.

Vargo stated that Zuhair currently weighed 114 pounds, down from 137 pounds in August 2008.

After his repatriation to Saudi Arabia on June 12, 2009 Carol Rosenberg, writing in the Miami Herald, reported that Zuhair had been the longest lasting hunger striker, whose hunger strike had lasted 1450 days.

Read more about this topic:  Ahmed Zaid Salim Zuhair

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