Guantanamo authorities block detainee from watching film depicting his daily ordeal

October 24, 2013

Image of detainees in Guantanamo bay

Guantanamo authorities block detainee from watching film depicting his daily ordeal   Authorities at Guantanamo Bay have refused to let Shaker Aamer watch a film depicting the ordeal endured daily by him and other detainees at the prison.   The animation, “Guatnanamo Bay: The Hunger Strikes”, made by the Guardian using testimony provided by the detainees’ lawyers at human rights charity Reprieve and narrated by David Morrissey and Peter Capaldi, features cleared detainees Shaker Aamer, Younous Chekkouri, Samir Moqbel, and Ahmed Belbacha.   Clive Stafford Smith, Mr Aamer’s lawyer, had requested permission to show the film to his client during a visit on Wednesday morning. Yet the Department of Defense sent an email to members of Mr Aamer’s legal team stating that the request had been denied.   The email said: “Good morning, This is probably late notice, but Guantanamo just informed me that counsel’s special request that a DVD player be provided for his visit with [Shaker Aamer] was denied.  I do not know the reason for the denial of the request.”   The censorship comes just after former head of Public Relations for the prison, Robert Durand, successfully demanded that the Washington Post newspaper publish a correction in an article describing him as ‘thickset’. The newspaper acknowledged their mistake, saying ‘He should have been described as muscular.’   On his Facebook page, Durand boasted that he had demanded the correction, writing: “Correction request sent.” Followed by a further comment: “With photos. Copying his editors.” He went on to give the author of the article advice about controlling information, writing: “Here’s a tip: when a reporter tells their editor that by ‘thickset’ you meant ‘muscular, and not fat, that’s the word they make you use in the correction that lives under your byline.”   Cori Crider, attorney for the detainees and Strategic Director at Reprieve, said: “The Obama administration is drawing the curtain of censorship yet tighter around Guantanamo, controlling all information going in and out. It is farcical that the prison’s PR machine is spending its time quibbling with newspapers over BMI levels, while stopping my client seeing what he goes through every day. This prison is a disgrace. The US government seems very adept at shutdowns: they must effect one on Guantanamo, immediately.”   ENDS   Notes to editors:   1. For further information, please contact Clemency Wells in Reprieve’s press office: +44 (0) 207 553 8161 / + 44 (0) 7739 188 097 /   2. The information about Robert Durand’s Facebook posts can be found in the Huffington Post, here.  3. The Guardian animation can be watched, here.