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Guantanamo Bay detainees allowed to contest unlawful conditions

US Department of Justice decides not to contest prisoners' right to federal court redress

Guantanamo Bay detainees are to be allowed to contest unlawful conditions of their imprisonment.

Lawyers for the US Department of Justice (DoJ) decided today not to contest a landmark judgement giving the concentration camp prisoners the right to take their cases to a federal court.

On February 11, the US Court of Appeals said not enough evidence was presented to stop the military’s force-feeding practices, but did rule that Guantanamo prisoners had the right to challenge their illegal treatment.

Prisoners have since submitted extensive additional evidence that the current practice, which involves a feeding tube over a metre long and a multiple-point restraint chair, is inhumane.

In an email to British resident Shaker Aamer’s counsel, the DoJ said it would not be seeking a rehearing before today's deadline.

That clears the way for challenges to force-feeding brought by Mr Aamer and other detainees.

Human rights charity Reprieve US chairman Eric Lewis said the government had taken “the right postion.”

He added: “We hope that we will have co-operation in eliminating the gratuitous cruelty with which detainees asserting their human dignity have been treated.”

Attorney Jon Eisenberg, who argued the appeal, said: “We anticipate a quick return to the district court.

“We are confident the judges of that court will expeditiously put a stop to the abusive and torturous force-feeding practices that happening right now at Guantanamo Bay.”

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