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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
BARACK OBAMA, et al.,
Civ. No. 05-1429 (RCL)
DECLARATION OF DAVID H. REMES IN SUPPORT OF
EMERGENCY MOTION CONCERNING ACCESS TO COUNSEL
I, DAVID H. REMES, under penalty of perjury pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1746, declare that the
following is true and correct:
I am a human rights attorney and a member of the bar of the District of Columbia,
admitted to practice in the federal courts in the District of Columbia. I submit this Declaration in
support of the above-titled motion.
I am counsel to Petitioner Saeed Hatim (ISN 255), whom respondents, through
the Joint Task Force—Guantánamo (“JTF”), have held at Guantánamo since June 2002. I have
represented Mr. Hatim since July 2005, when this case was filed. I am also counsel to more than
a dozen other Guantánamo detainees.
All of the clients mentioned herein are hunger strikers. The strike started on or
about February 2013 in response to a search of the men’s Qurans by prison staff. This hunger
strike is the largest and most protracted in the prison’s 11 year, 5 month history. The military
currently counts 103 of the 166 detainees as hunger strikers; the detainees say the true count is
higher. At least 30 of the 103, including two of my clients, are currently being force fed.
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I began visiting detainee clients in Guantánamo in late 2004. I have visited clients
there dozens of times since then. Mr. Hatim is among those I have visited. Though cleared for
release long ago by the Obama Administration, Mr. Hatim is still imprisoned.
Currently, most detainees are held in Camp 5 or Camp 6. The camps sit together
on one side of a road. Another facility, Camp Echo (“Echo”), sits on the other side of the road.
Historically, detainees have met with counsel either at Camp Echo or in Camp 5 or Camp 6,
often as requested by the detainee or his counsel. (Attorney/client meetings in Camp 5 have been
discontinued.) Meetings in Camp 6 are far less burdensome for the detainee and prison staff
because detainees must be transported (while shackled) by van to meetings in Echo. Detainees
have telephone calls with their lawyers in Camp Delta (“Delta”); this also requires transport of
detainees in a van (while shackled) from the detainee’s camp to Delta, which is located some
distance from Camps 5 and 6. Attachment A (satellite image of camp layout).
ATTEMPTED MEETINGS WITH MR. HATIM
On or about March 5, 2013, I received an email from Ali Hatim, Mr. Hatim’s
brother. According to Ali, Mr. Hatim said, in a family call on or about February 19, that he was
hunger striking and had not eaten in 13 days (i.e., since February 6), and that this was the last
time they would hear his voice. Ali said to me, "You should talk to Obama. What does he want
from my brother after 11 years? Isn't 11 years enough?” In a further email on May 19, Ali
reported that Mr. Hatim has not spoken with his family since the mid-February call.
I had already learned of the hunger strike from fellow habeas lawyers. On
receiving Ali’s message, I arranged a visit to Guantánamo as soon as possible. I arranged for
client meetings from Monday, March 4 through Friday morning, March 8.
I scheduled a meeting with Mr. Hatim on Friday morning, but I did not meet with
him. He and another client, Majid Ahmad (ISN 41), sent word through another client that they
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were too weak to see me. Salman Rabeii (ISN 508), with whom I met, told me that Mr. Hatim
had lost 40 pounds in the 29 days since the hunger strike began.
I returned to Guantánamo for client meetings from Tuesday, April 30 through
Friday, May 3. I scheduled a meeting with Mr. Hatim on May 1. It was important that we meet
to discuss issues relating to the remand proceeding in his case, including the status conference
scheduled for May 3, 2013. When I arrived in Echo, however, the Assistant Staff Judge
Advocate (“ASJA”) on duty told me that Mr. Hatim refused to see me.
As procedure contemplates, I gave the ASJA a “refusal letter” to bring to Mr.
Hatim, asking him to reconsider. I explained the need to meet concerning the status conference.
Returning with Mr. Hatim’s response, the ASJA reported that Mr. Hatim told him that he would
meet with me only if we could meet in his camp, Camp 6. I had asked that Mr. Hatim, if he still
refused despite my letter, to send the ASJA back with a note explaining why, but the ASJA told
me that detainees are not allowed to answer refusal letters in writing. If Mr. Hatim told the ASJA
why he would meet with me only in his camp, the ASJA did not tell me.
I next filled out a request form, addressed to the Staff Judge Advocate, asking that
that Mr. Hatim be allowed to meet with me in his camp. I attached to the request form a
declaration explaining, among other things:
The crux of the matter is that the current command has made a detainee’s
experience of being transferred to Camp Echo so miserable, especially in
the context of the ongoing hunger strike, as to deter [Mr. Hatim] from
exercising his constitutional right to seek habeas corpus, in violation of
I noted that I needed to confer with Mr. Hatim because we, his lawyers, “require[d] direction”
from from Mr. Hatim with respect to several isues that might arise at the status conference on
May 3. Id.
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JTF summarily rejected my request, stating that Mr. Hatim would not be allowed
to meet with me in Camp 6 in any circumstances. On May 3, another client, Abdalmalik Wahab
(ISN 37), told me that Mr. Hatim, having been on his hunger strike for 87 or 88 days, was in a
“bad, bad way.”
I had scheduled a meeting with another client, Mukhtar Al-Warafi (ISN 117), for
May 2. Mr. Al-Warafi also refused to meet with me. I sent Mr. Al-Warafi a refusal letter asking
him to reconsider; this time, I did not ask for a written response. The ASJA reported that Mr. Al-
Warafi still refused. I asked why. The ASJA replied, “general conditions.”
14. Mr. Wahab told me that the true reason Mr. Al-Warafi refused to meet with me
was far more specific. I reproduce below my record of what Mr. Wahab told me, using quote
marks to indicate statements that I recorded verbatim. In some instances, in the interest of clarity
and completeness, I have joined together statements on the same subject appearing in different
places in my notes.
15. Mr. Wahab stated:
Yesterday, a translator and official came to see him with a message:
“Whenever anyone is moved out of Camp 5 for any reason, or back into
Camp 5, we will search him, including his private parts, and we will hold
his private parts. [Mr. Wahab cupped a hand to illustrate.] Yesterday,
when the SJA brought your refusal note to Mukhtar, Mukhtar said to the
official, “Why are you conducting these searches? Are you trying to keep
me from meeting with my attorney? Family calls? It’s as if you’re
discouraging us.” That’s why Mukhtar refused to meet with you. He told
the official to tell you, “I want to meet with you. I have many things to
discuss with you.”
Shaker Aamer (ISN 239) wrote, in a letter of May 31:
On May 1, “Rover,” accompanied by an Arabic interpreter, came to each
detainee and informed us that “if you go to your appointment you will be
frisk-searched and they will pat and shake our private parts, so we can’t go
1 Covington & Burling does not represent Mr. Aamer. Mr. Aamer wrote this letter in broken
English. I have clarified his writing hewing as closely as possible to his text.
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to any appointment. We are ordered by our religion to protect our privates,
and no one is going to violate his religion for an appointment. So please
make sure to write to the camp administration and Obama administration
and the Defense Department to let them know what is going on down here.
They are preventing us from meeting or talking to lawyers. The reason is
clear. Keep in mind that this kind of search has been prohibited since
2005, General Hood’s time. They have all kinds of equipment for finding
hidden things without grabbing our privates. . . .
Similarly, another client, Yasein Ismael (ISN 522) recently sent me a letter
reporting that the prison staff has a policy of “[s]earching the private parts of people going out of
the camp in a move meant to stop people from seeing their attorneys or informing their families
by the phone of what’s happening.”
Salman Rabeii (ISN 508), another client with whom I met on this visit, put the
When they search you in Camp 6, the guards hold your privates. One
guard said that the Colonel ordered it. Another guard said, “If you want to
stop it, stop your hunger strike.”
ILLUSTRATIVE CONDITIONS OF OTHER CLIENTS
The physical and mental condition of the clients with whom I met in my early
March and early May visits, and the information they provided me, suggest Mr. Hatim’s
weakened condition. All were painfully thin and drawn in March, and more so in May. They are
shadows of the men I knew.
Yasein Ismael (ISN 522)
In our meeting on March 5, Mr. Ismail said he had lost 35 pounds since the
hunger strike began on February 6, dropping from 150 to 115 pounds. He said that he was very
weak and could not keep his balance. He said that he nearly decided not to see me but took sugar
water to give him the energy. He said, “The brothers are desperate. They feel like they are living
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in graves.” When we met on April 30, Mr. Ismail’s arms were like sticks. He said his weight had
fallen to about 105 pounds, a 45 pound drop since early February. He was being force fed.
In our April 30 meeting, Mr. Ismail stated:
“The temperature is very cold. The problem is made worse because people
are on a hunger strike. (I’m better off because I’m being force-fed.) I don’t
want to die, but I don’t want to give up my hunger strike, so I’ll take
honey or sugar water, or once a week, Ensure.
“You cannot imagine the situation here. People walk around like ghosts.”
Mr. Ismael also described the privations in the isolation cells to which the Camp 6 men were
moved after the April 13 raid. He also provided a detailed history of the events leading to the
present crisis, beginning with the September 2012 raid of Camp 6.
Salman Rabeii (ISN 508)
I met with Mr. Rabeii on March 7. He said that he had had lost 28 pounds.
Though the meeting hut was normal room temperature, Mr. Rabeii was wearing three layers of
clothing, and he said that he was freezing. When I met with Mr. Rabeii on May 2, he said that his
weight had fallen from 197 to 131 pounds—a 66 pound drop since early February. He stated:
“The current treatment is worse than anytime before. It’s very, very cold
in the block. It’s so cold that the brothers happily accept orders to meet
with interrogators or go to the clinic, just to get out.
“The guards keep noisy fans going. Day and night, they stomp their feet
and snap their fingers going up and down the corridor, and they speak
loudly. You’re allowed two hours of rec, to which the take you at arbitrary
times day and night. We can’t sleep.
“The only clothes that I’m allowed are a t-shirt, underwear, trousers, and
socks. My covering is a suicide smock of the type that Adnan Latif used to
wear. I have an isomat, no towels, toothbrush, or toothpaste.
“I surrendered my Quran in 2006 to keep it from being searched. All I
have now is a book interpreting the Quran. The authorities lie to the
media: They won’t take our Qurans. There is no TV. The only news we
get is from tube-fed hunger strikers.”
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Mr. Rabeii also gave me a first-hand account of the April 13 raid.
Shaker Aamer (ISN 239)
In a meeting with my co-counsel Clive Stafford Smith on May 7, Mr. Aamer
stated that the noise from the fans and the noise of the guards and their radios keep detainees up
day and night. See also Attachment B, Declaration of Clive Stafford Smith, ¶¶ 9, 10, 12, 14, 22
(Mar. 29, 2013).
Uthman Uthman (ISN 27)
24. When we met on March 7, Mr. Uthman said that his weight had dropped from
167 to 134 pounds. He said that his blood sugar fell to dangerously low levels (25–28) before
efforts were made to restore it to safe levels—after which it fell back again. When we met on
May 2, Mr. Uthman told me that his weight had fallen to about 119 pounds—a nearly 50 pound
drop since early February. He was in the hospital and was being force-fed. He said:
“I’m not ready to die. I don’t want to die, but I don’t want to give up my
hunger strike. I don’t want to be force-fed, but if you force-feed me, at
least do it humanely.”
In our March 7 meeting, Mr. Uthman gave me a first-hand account of the early September raid of
Camp 6, the shooting in the recreation yard in late January, and the Quran searches that sparked
the hunger strike in early February.
Abdulsalam al-Hela (ISN 1463)
I met with Mr. Al-Hela on March 6. He told me that his weight had dropped 30
pounds, falling from 150 to 120 pounds. He too was wearing extra layers of clothing, and long
johns. He had started walking with an aluminum cane because of pains in his legs. When I met
with him on May 1, he was weak, gaunt, and initially unfocused. He clearly had lost more
weight. He stated:
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Nobody can describe this who hasn’t lived here. I’m diabetic and afraid
I’ll fall into a coma or lose vision. I’ve lost consciousness two or three
times, but I managed to wake up on my own. I didn’t stop drinking but I
can’t drink enough because of my stomach.
Last time you were here, people could keep alive by sharing small
amounts of food. Saifullah Paracha [an ailing 65 year-old detainee, and
another client of mine, who is not hunger striking] might give us an apple.
But after the April 13 raid, men are in isolation cells, and sharing is
impossible. If you are going to force-feed us no matter what, then don’t
stretch it out, force-feed us now. Stretching it out will keep me alive but
ruin my organs. The doctors are violating their ethics by waiting until the
If they came to us and negotiated, saying we’ll raid if you don’t uncover
the cameras, we’d have uncovered the cameras. Covering the cameras was
a bid to have someone come and negotiate—talk about the Quran, what
should be in our cells. Either don’t search our Qurans or give us e-readers.
“The rules change with every rotation or change of senior officers,” he added.
Hussain Almerfedi (ISN 1015)
Hussain Almerfedi and I met on March 4. Mr. Almerfedi said that he had dropped
45 pounds, falling from 175 to 130 pounds. He said, “I’m always lying down. I’m sick.” He
stated, “The administration created this problem and doesn’t want to compromise.” He also said,
“Treat me as well as you treat the iguanas, even insects.”
Abdalmalik Wahab (ISN 37)
On March 29, 2013, I spoke with Mr. Wahab by phone. He said that he had been
on a hunger strike for 50 days or more and had dropped 40 pounds, falling from 195 to 155
pounds. He said he was speaking with me wearing several layers of clothing. He said that had
lost consciousness more than 10 times. (The clinic revives him with sugar water and forced
consumption of honey.) He said, “It is very difficult to walk, speak, focus, read.” He said that he
was vomiting at night and had vomited blood twice; felt numbness, weakness, and stomach
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pains; and had difficulty breathing. He said, “My only choice is to get out of here, either dead or
alive.” He also said, “Say hello to my family, if something happens to me, tell them forgive me.”
28. When I met with Mr. Wahab on May 3, he was skin and bones. His clavicle and
shoulder bones stuck out. He said that he was now 144 pounds, having lost over 50 pounds since
he began his hunger strike in early February. He stated that he had lost consciousness more than
ten times and had been revived with IV drips of sugar or honey water. He also stated his body
was very weak and that he had pains everywhere—chest, heart and stomach muscles—and
suffered from a constant headache. He said that his vision was impaired, that he had no focus,
that he had become forgetful, and that he was losing his memory of verses of the Quran. He said
that he always felt cold, even when the temperature was high. He said his skin was now
sensitive, and he indeed his skin was reddish all over.
LOW ROOF CARGO VANS
Standard operating procedure makes travel between a detainee’s camp and Echo
or Delta difficult for a detainee under the best of circumstances. The hunger strike, leaving
detainees weakened and dazed, magnifies the difficulty. The Joint Detention Group, which runs
the prison, recently found a new way to make the journey even more difficult for a detainee.
Detainees are moved from their camps to Echo or Delta, or other facilities, in
windowless, white cargo vans, which outwardly resemble the 2013 GMC Savana 1500 Cargo
Van. Detainees enter and leave the van through double doors in the back. According to my
clients, the ride from the detainee’s camp to Echo takes about 10 minutes but “much longer” to
Delta and adjoining facilities. See Attachment A (satellite image of layout of camps).
At the end of March, it appears, JTF replaced the regular vans with vans that have
too little interior headroom to permit a detainee to sit upright, forcing him to ride the bumpy
roads with his back and neck bent. Thus, a detainee wishing to meet with his lawyer or have calls
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with his lawyer or family has to travel in a stress position, in addition to submitting to an
intrusive and humiliating body search.
As I stated in the declaration attached to my request form for the SJA, “the
command had begun to use,
in place of the regular vans normally used to take detainees to and from
attorney meetings in Echo, vans with ceilings so low that the manacled
detainee essentially [must] crouch while being transported to and from
Echo. This is an unlawful stress position, and a substantial independent
deterrent to [going to] attorney meetings.
I have been told by someone who made inquires to JTF officials that at least some of the low
roof vans were actually retrofitted regular vans.
I learned of this new burden in a March 29 phone call, Abdalmalik Wahab (ISN
37) stated: “Today we came here in a new van, I had to bend down to fit into it.” In our May 3
meeting, he elaborated:
When I saw [the] van from the outside, it looked pretty good because there
were steps [into the back of the van]. But then I saw the inside. I had to
bend my back to go in and sit down—back bent, neck bent, in ankle and
wrist shackles, and in a belt around my waist. The van took 10 minutes
today, but to Delta, much longer. They never used this van before.
Abdalmalik also stated that to the soldiers “escorting” him in the low roof van can sit on the floor
without bending and extend their legs. He pointed out that the soldiers are not shackled.
Shaker Aamer provided further detail, as recorded in Mr. Stafford Smith’s
declaration dated April 30, 2013:
The authorities are making it harder for prisoners to work with their
lawyers. In addition to failing to follow their own procedures in telling the
detainees in advance when they are getting calls, “they have brought a
new humiliation transportation van.” Shaker describes how the bench is
high and ceiling is low so that you have to crouch near your knee to get in
there. The whole van is blacked out so he can see nothing. “It is for
midgets. The only human being who could sit in there is someone who is
four feet tall.” Shaker states that this is bad for the guards as well, as they
are big people. The van has freezing air conditioning and neon lights.
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Attachment C, Declaration of Clive Stafford Smith, page 2 (Apr. 30, 2013).
OTHER SUBJECTS ADDRESSED BY CLIENTS
35. My clients also had much to say about other subjects beyond this declaration.
They described the string of events leading to the hunger strike, all of which occurred after the
current command took control of the prison last summer. In particular, I heard first-hand
accounts of (1) the soldiers’ invasion of Camp 6 in early September, (2) a tower guard’s firing on
a group of detainees in the recreation yard in late January, (3) the Quran searches in early
February, (4) the raid on Camp 6 in mid-April, when the command moved all of the detainees to
isolation cells; (5) the switch to transport vans that require detainees to bend over during rides
between camps; and (6) the intrusive searches of private body parts, implemented in the first
week of May, which has evidently led many detainees to refuse to leave their camps for meetings
with their lawyers and calls with their lawyers. My clients also described other means by which
the command is seeking to break the hunger strike by making the men’s lives as miserable as
possible, including sleep deprivation, temperature manipulation, interference with prayer,
deprivation of such personal items as medical devices, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and towels; and
even limits on the number of squares of toilet paper given to a detainee.
One January 22, 2009, President Obama issued executive orders relating to
Guantánamo closure, interrogation practices, and detention policy. Section 6 of his Guantánamo
Executive Order 13492, “Review and Disposition of Individuals Detained At the Guantánamo
Bay Naval Base and Closure of Detention Facilities,” 74 Fed. Reg. 4897, 4899 (Jan. 27, 2009), is
entitled “Humane Standards of Confinement.” It stated:
No individual currently detained at Guantánamo shall be held in the
custody or under the effective control of any officer, employee, or other
agent of the United States Government, or at a facility owned, operated, or
controlled by a department or agency of the United States, except in
conformity with all applicable laws governing the conditions of such
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confinement, including Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.
The Secretary of Defense shall immediately undertake a review of the
conditions of detention at Guantánamo to ensure full compliance with this
directive. Such review shall be completed within 30 days and any
necessary corrections shall be implemented immediately thereafter.
Pursuant to that directive, the Secretary sent Admiral Patrick M. Walsh to Guantánamo to
determine whether detainees were held there in conformity with the specified applicable laws,
including common article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.
In his report, Admiral Walsh concluded that the operation of the prison
conformed with the specified laws because, among other things, the searches “respect[ed] the
detainee’s groin area,” as follows:
Due to cultural sensitivities, modified frisk searching procedures are in
place that respect the detainee’s groin area, and guards are not allowed to
conduct frisk searches of this area. Guards are limited to grasping the
waistband of detainees’ trousers, and shaking the pants.
* * *
Concerns raised in the early years of detention operations at Guantánamo
highlighted the importance of respect for the religious traditions of the
detainees. In response, considerable efforts were undertaken to avoid
actions that could be construed as disrespectful. For example, guards are
given awareness training and required to control noise and movement
during prayer times. Guards have been disciplined for interfering with
prayer time. A full-time cultural advisor has been employed by the JTF for
the past several years. He provides a robust level of advice to leadership
within the JTF, and most particularly, the [Joint Detention Group]. The
[Commander of the Joint Detention Group] recognizes that the SOP does
not permit searching of the Koran or detainee groin areas, which is
contrary to standard security procedures in most detention facility
operations, and that it carries a level of risk. However, he has accepted that
risk out of an elevated respect for religious concerns of the detainees.
Admiral Walsh concluded that these conditions were in compliance with common article 3 and
that conditions were humane.2 The Walsh report leaves no doubt that the former command ran
2 Review of Department Compliance with President’s Executive Order on Detainee Conditions
of Confinement 25–26 (Feb. 22, 2009).
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the prison with a light touch. Under the command’s approach, calm generally prevailed at the
All that changed when the current command assumed responsibility for running
the prison in the summer of 2012. The new command’s approach to running the prison is far
different from its predecessors’ approach. The new, punitive approach is described in a letter
from DOD defense counsel and their civilian colleagues dated May 20, 2013. Attachment D.
Since the arrival of the current command last year, there “has been a serious degradation in the
quality of life for detainees,” including “degrading body searches,” solitary confinements, and
disruption of prayers. Id. at 3, 5, 6. The new command’s approach has shattered the calm that had
prevailed since 2009, brought chaos rather than order to the prison, and led to a general hunger
strike now in well into its fourth month, with devastating consequences for the desperate
prisoners and no end in sight. The new command has reestablished Guantánamo as a symbol of
American injustice and reignited demands that it be closed.
I declare that the foregoing is true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.
DAVID H. REMES
DATED: May 22, 2013
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COUNTY OF DORSET
DECLARATION OF CLIVE A. STAFFORD SMITH
COMES NOW, CLIVE A. STAFFORD SMITH, under oath, and deposes and states
I am an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Louisiana, as
well as the United States Supreme Court and various lower federal courts. I have been
licensed to practice law since 1984.
I am a dual US-UK national. I have been representing prisoners in
Guantánamo Bay since 2002, when I was working in Louisiana. I continue to
represent a number of prisoners there.
On Friday, March 29, 2013, at approximately 11am EST, I spent
ninety minutes on an unclassified phone call with my client Shaker Aamer, whose
Internment Serial Number is 239. We spent most of the phone call on the subject of
the hunger strike. I should note that I concentrated on matters that took place after my
last call with Shaker, which took place on March 1, 2013.
Shaker gave me a detailed chronology of what is happening. I set forth
my notes on our conversation on this subject below. When I use quotes, that is my
best reconstruction of what Shaker reported being said, but it is clearly not verbatim. I
regret that I have not, given the time constraints, been able to check my notes and my
memory with my client, but I am confident that my notes are as accurate as I could
at the prison.
February 6: The incident with the Qur’ans began the current problems
February 7: The hunger striking began.
February 15: They came to Shaker’s block in Camp 5. (Note that I am
generally not allowed to identify cell locations on a call such as this.) They FCE’d
him (this means that they conducted a ‘Forcible Cell Extraction’, which is the current
euphemism for sending in what has been known as the ERF, sometimes called the
Emergency Reaction Force). They FCE’d the two others there also. They FCE’d all
three men during prayer time. All three were injured in the FCE assault. One of the
three was rendered unconscious and was taken to the hospital, where Shaker
understands that he remained unconscious for four days. He is still in the hospital
March 12: They came again to Shaker and FCE’d him during prayer
March 15: The sleep deprivation began. The guards on the night shift
began a concerted effort to make sleep difficult.
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10. March 18: The sleep deprivation got much worse. Shaker was moved
to another block, with another person who has been a striker for many years. Shaker
was placed in the first cell on the block which is designated for disabled prisoners,
and has not been used for several years. It is only a few feet from where the guards
use the toilet, shower, eat and so forth.
The female psych who calls herself ‘Helena’ came to see Shaker. He
had just been moved to the noisy cell, and she asked him whether he planned to “harm
himself”? He does not talk to those among the psychs who are only taking part in the
abuse, so he did not initially respond to her. However, she went on to say that guards
had reported that he wanted to harm himself. Shaker did reply then, as he did not want
this excuse to be on the record for further abuse of him. “I have a wife and kids and I
expect to be released sometime in the near future as I have been cleared for more than
five years. It is not me who wants to harm me, but the Administration that is harming
Shaker lodged a complaint with her about being in the new cell, as it is
made for a disabled person (“I am not disabled yet”), and is too noisy for sleep. He
pointed out that if the guards were genuinely concerned about him self-harming, there
was an observation cell half way down the block with a plexiglass door where they
could monitor him 24 hours a day, and where he might be able to get some sleep.
‘Helena’ said to Shaker that this was “not my business.” Shaker replied that it clearly
was – he was being abused and denied sleep. She has not returned since that time.
13. March 19: Adel Hakeemy (ISN 168) from Tunisia, also a Reprieve
client, attempted suicide. He was being held where Shaker “used to be.” (I understood
this to be Camp 5 Echo, which is the most abusive of all the cell blocks in the camp –
Shaker has detailed the mistreatment unique to this block in our earlier
conversations). Hekeemy was taken to hospital and only returned on March 28. He
has been brought back to Camp 5 Echo again, which is obviously the worst thing they
could do with a detainee who has been self-harming. Shaker asked that we get
something done about this as soon as possible.
14. March 19: Shaker lodged an official complaint with the OIC about the
sleep deprivation. He pointed out that he suffers from tinnitus and that they have
known for many years that he is a very light sleeper and has sleeping problems. There
are 12 empty cells in the block, so he could be moved to any of them and the noise
problems would be at least reduced. However, as of March 29, there has been no
response to his complaint.
15. March 19: Shaker reports that there is a new “Code Matrix” being used
in the camp (i.e., Code Yellow means that someone has collapsed from the hunger
strike, Code Snowball means that someone is committing self-harm, Code Orange
Crush is where there is a open door for some unauthorized reason, and Code Matrix is
apparently what they are using to avoid cameras and FCE teams). The evil impact of
these codes is that the guards rush in and assault people without the normal cameras
that are used with the FCE team (which, in theory at least, record what is done to the
One prisoner was subjected to the new Code Matrix for being “in
possession of a bottle of water” and was beaten up without cameras.
Case 1:12-mc-00398-RCL Document 38-1 Filed 05/22/13 Page 20 of 45
There is also a new practice that has been brought in which involves
using a dog leash on the detainees. Normally, they would have the hand and leg
shackles (which are still in use) and the hands would be held by a guard from behind
as they walk (or, more generally, push) the detainee along. But now they are attaching
a cloth dog leash to the waist chain, clipping it on as they might an animal. A sergeant
tried to make Shaker a victim of a Code Matrix today when Shaker refused to have a
dog leash, and be treated like an animal. However, in the end they backed off and
went for the FCE team.
The authorities have begun a concerted campaign to FCE prisoners in a
more abusive way. Shaker had been conducting the non-violent protest that he has
done for many months (sitting in the rec yard and asking to stay there for a week as a
protest against the fact and conditions of his confinement; on this day, Shaker added
the demand that he should be moved out of the noisy cell as well). This non-violent
protest is essentially the only protest available to Shaker. For the months gone by, the
FCE has been done the regular way, but they have now started a new method, which
is being applied to all prisoners except those being taken to hospital.
The new FCE method is as follows: they no longer use the board, but
they have six large people who come into the area where the detainee is and shackle
his feet, and his hands behind his back. They then lift him up “like a potato sack” and
simply carry him to where he is being taken (in Shaker’s case, through six or seven
doors, about 150 yards to his cell). This is excruciatingly painful, particularly because
of Shaker’s long-term back injuries (which were originally caused by mistreatment by
the US in Bagram Air Force Base).
20. March 19: Two Generals came to visit Camp 5. (Shaker believes, but
cannot be sure, that one was a Gen. John F. Kelly, currently head of Southcom.)
There was an entourage with them. Just before they arrived, an ambulance pulled up
outside the camp, with doctors, nurses and a stretcher. They were in civilian clothes.
They had all sorts of equipment, including an oxygen tank. They loaded a man with a
light beard who was not a detainee on the stretcher. He had no cuffs, but was just
strapped down to the stretcher so that he would not fall off. They carried him out to
the ambulance in full view of the generals, and drove off towards the hospital. This
was all an act for the generals to try to impress them with how good everything was.
(Shaker believes that, if challenged, the authorities would state that this was a normal
thing – perhaps a training operation.)
Shaker reports that visitors are coming by the camp every two or three
days, as there is a concerted effort to convince people that treatment is fine. In truth,
in the daytime it is much quieter, as it is mainly at night that the worst abuses happen.
“The Night Shift are back on ‘Miller Time’ [what Shaker calls the
behavior and strategies of General Geoffrey D. Miller, in 2002-03]. They are
stomping up and down the tier, talking, singing (one woman in particular), doing the
garbage, banging the doors which are hydraulic and make a very loud slamming noise
20 or 30 times a night, dragging chair around, crashing about with the ice chest. They
have brought a big fan back to make noise.”
It is clear to Shaker that there are particular orders for the Night shift to
do all this. For example, only the Night Shift does not use the board; the Day Shift
still does. Shaker demanded why they were not using the board to carry him after
Case 1:12-mc-00398-RCL Document 38-1 Filed 05/22/13 Page 21 of 45
what the doctors had said about his back. He was told that there was no rule requiring
them to use the board.
Shaker has a good relationship with some of the guards, and NCOs
have told him that they do not want to do it but they have to.
Shaker is also concerned that they are doing all they can to cover up
who is committing the worst abuses. The number system was instituted seven years
ago or so in order to allow the prisoners to report abusive soldiers. 5arious strategies
are being used to prevent this now. Although he got the number of one person (the
300 lbs man), by and large he cannot get the numbers of FCE teams as they are
wearing white coveralls that obscure their numbers. The guards are also changing
their numbers and recycling old numbers from the past.
Shaker reports hearsay (it was said by the Colonel to one of the other
prisoners – who does not want his name reported for fear of reprisals) that the Colonel
said: “I will bring this camp to how it was in the old times. I’ve got kids at home and I
know how to deal with kids.” Shaker is worried for the Colonel’s kids, as there may
be a need for social services to check on how they are being treated.
During the visits by outsiders, even in the day time, there are various
strategies being used to cover up what is happening. Normally, Shaker reports, the
food that was not used was left outside. Now, it is being put in the insulated
containers in the block, to hide the fact that the detainees are refusing to eat it. This
may, he thinks, also be done to make the smell of food lure more prisoners to go back
to eating. Then all the unused food is thrown in the trash, so that the civilians who
make it get the food containers back empty, and again cannot report on how much is
not being eaten.
The Colonel has ordered other abusive tactics. Shaker understands
(and the detainees believe) that the Colonel was deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan
before coming to Guantánamo Bay, and is therefore taking a tough attitude, because
that is what they apparently did there. He is only issuing half-isomats (three feet long
rather than six) and so forth.
29. March 20: Shaker complained to the medical corpsman about his abuse
on March 19, and so today he was carried on a board, since the medical officers said
that the new method of FCE’ing was not permissible with Shaker because of his back
30. March 21: Today, and at all times since, they have reverted to the new
method, and have refused to use the board. Indeed, today they introduced a new abuse
on top of this. When the FCE team came in to get him, a particularly large soldier,
who weighed about 300 lbs, kneed him in the back and held Shaker down with his full
weight on top of him. This caused bruises on his back and hands. Shaker showed
these to the corpsman, who said he would write it down and follow it up. However,
nobody came to see him about his new injuries and nothing has been done.
31. March 22: This abusive FCE was repeated, with the 300lb soldier.
Again he was bruised by the man, and he took down the soldier’s number. This time,
they held his hands and his legs, both crossed over, and the man pushed down until
Shaker heard a cracking sound in his own back.
Case 1:12-mc-00398-RCL Document 38-1 Filed 05/22/13 Page 22 of 45
Shaker was not permitted to give me the soldier’s number on an
33. When Shaker sought medical treatment for this injury, he was offered
Tylenol. “This is not a reasonable response for that kind of injury,” he said to me.
34. March 23: Shaker began refusing to go out of his cell, as he is very
worried about being paralyzed in the same way as the Egyptian and the Syrian, who
were paralyzed by the beatings that they got in Guantánamo Bay. (Note: the Egyptian
was Sami al Laithi, ISN 287, represented by Reprieve, who was paralyzed when
beaten in the hospital.)
35. March 25: At 14:05 today Shaker was visited by ‘Dr. Cordelia’, who is
one of the pleasant medical personnel. She said he was now recognized as a striker,
though they had refused to accept that before. She told him the impact of the strike,
reading off a piece of paper about how his kidneys might fail, he might go blind, he
might cause permanent brain damage, and so forth. She said that he needed Thiamine,
medication for his muscle spasms, and nutrients like honey and ensure.
Since March 25, Shaker has been visited by a doctor or a nurse every
day. However, they are doing nothing. He has lectured them all on how they are
violating their medical ethics by taking part in the gratuitous mistreatment of the
prisoners, but they have told him that they are following “orders from on high.”
37. March 29: 0400 they did a Code Matrix on one of the skinniest hunger
strikers (now 107 lbs) who had a Tupperware box with him. He had tea in the box and
they did a Code Matrix call on him. In the end, rather than be beaten up he gave it
over to them.
0915 With his phone call, they did not tell Shaker the night before as
the rules require. They told him only at 9:15am that they would be coming
immediately for him. As a result he had not been able to prepare to tell counsel about
the details of what was going on. However, there was an “operational delay” in the
call – which Shaker reported as being a flat tire on the van – which allowed him time
to gather his notes up and prepare to speak with counsel.
“Last night was one of the worst,” Shaker reported. A Hispanic female
was singing much of the night. The noise from next door in the toilet was constant
and loud. Shaker got almost no sleep.
Shaker has lost 32 lbs as of today. This is necessarily an estimate as he
is not being accurately weighed, but he considers himself an accurate judge of his
own weight after the hunger strikes he has been on. His hand is shaking almost
permanently because of the hunger strike.
Shaker has been badly punished for joining the strike. He has been
denied various things that were ordered for medical reasons including his second
isomat (for his back), his blanket (for arthritis), his knee brace (for his knee injury),
his back brace for his back problems), and the pressure socks that are meant to help
with the edema in his feet. He even went ten days without being allowed a toothbrush.
He has also been denied the medically ordered second bottle of water.
In Camp 5 (as compared to Camp 5I, where apparently bottled water has been cut off
Case 1:12-mc-00398-RCL Document 38-1 Filed 05/22/13 Page 23 of 45
altogether) there is a new rule that they are only allowed one bottle at a time –
whether they are using it for coffee, for washing for prayer, or drinking.
All the spices that Shaker had collected were thrown out; apparently
there is a policy of throwing out the spices that detainees got through the ICRC.
There is currently a policy of nobody in authority talking to prisoners
about their complaints. Shaker has asked to see the OIC, the AOIC, and so forth, but
none will come, as the NCO reports them as saying it is not their responsibility.
As of March 29, Shaker reports that there are 130 prisoners total on
hunger strike in the whole prison. Of the 66 prisoners in Camp 5, 45 are recognized as
being on strike, though more actually are doing it (Shaker was only recently
recognized himself). Shaker reports that 15 of them have blood sugar levels below 40
mg/dl. There is one prisoner with a blood sugar level of 17 mg/dl. Seven detainees are
The authorities are playing with the prisoners’ weights. They use the
big scale now, and they weigh the prisoner with shackles, and often immediately after
they have drunk a lot of water. They hide the weight reading from the prisoners, so
there is no saying what is written down, though they sometimes say what it is. Shaker
reports various ‘miracles’: With one prisoner, who weighed 127 lbs last week and has
not eaten in the interim, they said he was 140lbs.
Shaker understands that one detainee is reportedly 85 lbs; another 107
lbs; and a third 117 lbs.
Shaker estimated that he is 158 lbs, down from around 190 lbs when
this began. “You can see the bones in my chest. My body has taken a lot of shock.”
He is taking two or three spoons of honey a day to try to ameliorate the worst impact
of the strike on himself, as his body had suffered a great deal of damage over the past
Between six and ten detainees who are ‘falling down’ every day. They
are told that this is because their blood sugar levels are between 20 and 40 (mg/dl). If
this happens, they are being strapped to the board, and told that they have to take a
mixture of honey and water. They may be left on the board for several hours until
they agree to take the honey and water. They are using this method rather than the
tube and the chair.
Prisoners are being mistreated in gratuitous ways, in addition to the
mistreatment of Hakeemy (ISN 168). For example, the paralyzed Syrian has been
denied his wheel chair for 6 weeks now. He is being isolated in Camp 5 Echo and he
is there without his chair.
Notwithstanding this, Shaker reports that the detainees are more
together than ever they have been, as they are determined to fight the abuse they are
suffering through a non-violent hunger strike.
52. While I would obviously prefer that Shaker Aamer should be permitted
to testify to the facts that he related to me himself, the foregoing is as accurate an
account as I am able to produce from my notes of my conversation with him about the
current state of the hunger strike in Guantánamo Bay, and the unfortunate response by
the authorities to it.
Case 1:12-mc-00398-RCL Document 38-1 Filed 05/22/13 Page 24 of 45
I declare under the pains and penalties of perjury under the laws of the United States
that the foregoing is true and correct.
Done this 31st day of March, 2013.
Clive A. Stafford Smith
Case 1:12-mc-00398-RCL Document 38-1 Filed 05/22/13 Page 25 of 45
Case 1:12-mc-00398-RCL Document 38-1 Filed 05/22/13 Page 26 of 45
COUNTY OF DORSET
DECLARATION OF CLIVE A. STAFFORD SMITH
COMES NOW, CLIVE A. STAFFORD SMITH, under oath, and deposes and states
I am an attorney licenced to practice law in the State of Louisiana, as well as the
United States Supreme Court and various other inferior U.S. courts. I have been
licenced to practice law since 1984.
I am currently the director of the London-based legal action charity, Reprieve. I am a
dual US-UK national. I have been representing prisoners in Guantánamo Bay since
2002, when I was working in Louisiana. I continue to represent a number of prisoners
On Thursday, April 11, 2013, at approximately 9am EST, I spent sixty minutes on an
unclassified phonecall with my client Shaker Aamer, whose Internment Serial
Number is 239. We spent most of the phonecall on the subject of the hungerstrike.
Shaker gave me an account of much of what is happening. However, we were only
allowed to talk for sixty minutes, and it would have taken much longer to conclude
what he had to say.
Shaker said he was very willing to appear as a witness before Judge Hogan.
I set forth my notes on our conversation on this subject below. When I use quotes,
that is a direct or very close reconstruction of what Shaker actually said. My notes are
much more accurate in this account than others, as I set up the phone so I could type
almost verbatim notes. Despite this I regret that I have not, given the time constraints,
been able to check my notes and my memory with my client, but I am confident that
my notes are as accurate as I could reasonably manage.
Shaker began by telling me that nobody told him about the impending call. He was
woken up shortly before nine am and hustled over. As a result, he did not have the
materials he needed.
Shaker was not allowed writing implements for some time, so he was unable to take
notes of things, but another prisoner on his block has been taking notes for him where
necessary. “I was going to bring it all with me. My brother across the hall has been
registering all the things when I have had no pen, no paper, no books, no medical
Shaker did get paper yesterday [April 10] for the first time in a while, but did not
know that there was a call today (he was not given the 24 hours notice that he is
meant to get). So he had not done up notes, and did not have the chance to get what
the other detainee had done for him.
Case 1:12-mc-00398-RCL Document 38-1 Filed 05/22/13 Page 27 of 45
The authorities are making it harder for prisoners to work with their lawyers. In
addition to failing to follow their own procedures in telling the detainees in advance
when they are getting calls, “they have brought a new humiliation transportation van.”
Shaker describes how the bench is high and ceiling is low so that you have to crouch
near your knee to get in there. The whole van is blacked out so he can see nothing. “It
is for midgets. The only human being who could sit in there is someone who is four
feet tall.” Shaker states that this is bad for the guards as well, as they are big people.
The van has freezing air conditioning and neon lights.
Shaker is being punished as a consequence of his calls with his lawyers. “Each
phonecall [from a lawyer] is a curse,” Shaker said. “I receive harsh treatment that day.
As soon as I came back various things change. They hear what I am saying to you and
use that against me to make things worse. That is the sad thing about the phonecalls.”
Shaker reported being FCE’d (subjected to a Forcible Cell Extraction) for almost
everything now. “On [April] the 8th, there were 20 FCE’s in the whole of Camp V,
and three of them were me.”
Shaker was FCE’d when he demanded his legal materials back. “After my last call
with you, my lawyer, they took everything. I took rec that day as I had not been there
for a while. When I came back in everything had been thrown in the cell, like
garbage. Papers were all over the floor.” They had taken everything in Shaker’s cell,
his legal materials, his other documents, “even my kids’ drawings. They ripped them
off the wall.”
“They took all my medical stuff.” The guards took his two isomats, his pillow, his
‘donut’ that the doctors ordered for him to sit on his hemorroids, his back brace and
“I was complaining. The guard said it was not him [who did it]. I tried to collect the
papers together, but lots of things were missing. I complained to the SJA who said ‘I
will see what I can do.’ Then they FCE’d me and brought some things back to me.”
When supposedly everything had been returned, Shaker noticed pages missing from
his legal documents and so forth. “The SJA came back and said: ‘They [the guards]
say they took nothing.’ The SJA asked what was missing. How can I tell precisely
what they took? There were 3000 pages.” However, Shaker went on to describe how
pages were missing on numbered documents (it would go 1, 2 and then be missing 3
and so forth).
Shaker is being FCE’d for water. “For three days now if I say I want more water –
they FCE me just to give me water. The first day I got FCE’d three times and Code
Yellow two times [when Shaker fell down unconscious]. Not even General Miller did
this during ‘Miller Time’.”
They are FCE’ing Shaker for essentially everything. Yesterday [April 10] is an
example. “They FCE’d me at 2pm to bring in lunch.” This, even though Shaker was
on hunger strike and was not going to eat it.
Case 1:12-mc-00398-RCL Document 38-1 Filed 05/22/13 Page 28 of 45
“I asked for thiamine and 60ml honey [and other medications], as the doctor said it
was necessary. They FCE’d me. The Corpsman came in. ‘You FCE’d me for
medication?’ [Shaker demanded.] The Corpsman said, ‘That’s the only way they will
let you have it.’”
“They would not take the lunch away. They left it until dinner time.” This is
apparently torturous for Shaker since he is on hunger strike and they are just trying to
make him have food in his cell for hours.
Shaker asked for water. “They would not bring water until dinner time.”
Then: “They FCE’d me last night at 945pm to bring the dinner inside, even though I
was not eating.”
Shaker has had almost no water for 24 hours as they would not bring water. “The
nurse registered this. I made a declaration to the nurse.” Shaker reports that she has no
number; the guards, corpsmen and nurses now use what appear to be pseudonyms
which Shaker thinks are Shakespearean names. This makes it impossible for him to
Shaker reports that nurses and corpsmen are saying they can do nothing about water
as that is for the guards. Shaker told them he is a trained nurse, and showed them