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Free Tariq!
Close Guantnamo
Free hunger striker Tariq Ba Odah from Guantánamo before he dies

Dear friends and supporters,

Friday was the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, introduced by the United Nations in 1997 to mark the entry into force of the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment on June 26, 1987, and to mark the occasion we published the latest article by "Close Guantánamo" co-founder Andy Worthington, entitled, "Skeletal, 75-Pound Guantánamo Hunger Striker Tariq Ba Odah Seeks Release; Medical Experts Fear For His Life."

This is the harrowing story of Tariq Ba Odah, who has been on an uninterrupted hunger strike for eight years and four months, since February 2007, and now weighs just 74.5 pounds. As his lawyer, Omar Farah of the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, explained, he looks like "a Holocaust survivor," and he is at risk of death. On Thursday, CCR submitted a motion to the District Court in Washington D.C. asking a judge to order his release.

Force-feeding hunger striking prisoners at Guantánamo has always appalled the medical profession, which maintains that it is completely unacceptable to force-feed mentally competent hunger strikers. In Tariq's case, the Obama administration should, in addition, be appalled that his life is at risk, because he shouldn't even be at Guantánamo.

Way back in 2009, the high-level, inter-agency Guantánamo Review Task Force that President Obama established to review the cases of all the prisoners still held at the time, concluded that he should not continue to be held. 

What you can do now

To call for Tariq's release, call the White House on 202-456-1111 or 202-456-1414 or submit a comment online.

You can also call the Department of Defense on 703-571-3343 and ask defense secretary Ash Carter to certify to Congress, as required by law, that it is safe to release Tariq.

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Please also read Andy's previous article, "The Path to Closing Guantánamo," looking at the obstructions to the closing of Guantánamo that are raised every year in Congress, in the annual National Defense Authorization Act, and the proposal for a route to close the prison that was put forward this year by the Senate Armed Services Committee, chaired by Sen. John McCain -- although all of the options put forward are opposed by the White House.

This article contains the relevant excerpts from the SASC proposals and the White House's objections, and for an update, please see this article in the Washington Post.

Please also feel free to read other articles by Andy on his website -- "Remembering the Season of Death at Guantánamo," about the claimed suicides at the prison over the years, "Who Are the Six Yemenis Freed from Guantánamo and Resettled in Oman?" about the most recent releases from the prison -- and check out our updated prisoner list here -- plus "800 Years of Magna Carta: The Stench of Hypocrisy Regarding Habeas Corpus for Shaker Aamer and Other Guantánamo Prisoners" and "Six Months After the CIA Torture Report, We’re Still Waiting for Accountability."

With thanks, as ever, for your support.

The "Close Guantánamo" team

P.S. Please, if you will, also ask your friends and family to join us -- just an email address is required to be counted amongst those opposed to the ongoing existence of Guantánamo, and to receive updates of our activities by email. Please also note that we can be found on Twitter here and on Facebook here.
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