More than a dozen news organizations have filed court papers calling on a federal court judge to unseal videos depicting a Guantánamo Bay detainee being forcibly removed from his cell and force-fed.
The motion — backed by The New York Times, The Associated Press and Reuters, among others — argues that the First Amendment allows for the public to inspect the footage in a bid to assess whether inmates at the camp have been treated fairly.
Earlier this week, lawyers for Syrian national Abu Wa’el Dhiab, a longtime hunger striker whom the Obama administration cleared for release or transfer in 2009, viewed 28 of the tapes showing his forcible cell extractions (FCE) and force-feeding. Dhiab’s attorneys have run a high-profile lawsuit against the government, which attempts to stop military officials at Guantánamo from force-feeding the detainee. The case is part of a broader challenge over his 12-year imprisonment.
One of Dhiab’s lawyers, Alka Pradhan, told Al Jazeera the videos she watched at a secure facility in Virginia were so disturbing that she had trouble sleeping.
But despite military officials marking the videos as "secret," 16 news organizations filed a 34-page motion in U.S. District Court Friday seeking to intervene in Dhiab’s case and arguing that the First Amendment trumps the government’s national security classification in this case.