Yasiin Bey, the rapper/actor most popularly known as Mos Def, sat for a video of him undergoing a force-feeding that is reportedly standard procedure for hunger striking detainees at Guantánamo Bay. He was shackled to a chair as volunteer doctors attempted twice to insert a tube into his stomach through his nostrils, and he cried out in pain from what he described as a "burning" sensation.
The human-rights group Reprieve arranged the demonstration, shot in London, June 15, 2013, to bring awareness to the practice that has been called torture. According to the video there are currently 120 hunger striking Gitmo prisoners protesting being held indefinitely without charges or trial. Of the 120, 44 are being force fed.
The procedure takes approximately 30 minutes and the prisoners are left strapped to the chairs for as long as two hours. According to the Washington Post, detainees themselves also have said that it is painful and has caused them to urinate and defecate on themselves.
With Ramadaan beginning today (July 8), activists are especially concerned and have filed for an injunction to stop the treatment, citing that having to endure the force feeding between the hours of sunset and sunrise will make it all the more unendurable.
In a letter to the Pentagon, reports The Hill, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) wrote, “Hunger strikes are a long known form of non-violent protest aimed at bringing attention to a cause, rather than an attempt of suicide … the current approach raises very important ethical questions and complicates the difficult situation regarding the continued indefinite detention at Guantánamo.”
President Obama is working to close the facility altogether.
Bey and the doctors agreed to end the "medical management" demonstration before the tube was entirely inserted. "Please, please, please, don't," he begged before yelling a final "stop!"
"I really didn't know what to expect," Bey continued. "And then the tube went in, and the first part is not that bad, but then you get this burning, I got this burning, and then it just starts to get unbearable like something's going into my brain and then it starts to reach the back of my throat and I really, I really can't take it."
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(Photo: Courtesy of Reprieve.org.uk)