At a Glance
On June 25, CCR moved for an order granting Ba Odah's habeas petition and compelling the government to facilitate his immediate release. On April 16, 2016, he was released to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Ba Odah v. Obama is a habeas corpus petition on behalf of Tariq Ba Odah, a Yemeni man who was been detained at Guantánamo without charge from 2002-2016. The Obama administration cleared him for release in 2009, but, like other cleared Yemenis at the prison, he remained arbitrarily detained solely because of his citizenship. He spent one-third of his life in Guantánamo.
Not long after he arrived in Guantánamo, Ba Odah began his hunger strike to protest his indefinite detention without charge. He reports that through the years the crackdown from the Guantánamo prison administration was so brutal that he was unable to maintain his peaceful strike. Periodically he would be forced to give it up before resuming it again. In 2007, however, he resolved to begin what has become one of the longest running hunger strikes at Guantánamo.
As a result of his peaceful hunger strike, Ba Odah was force-fed daily, a practice widely condemned as torture. Twice a day, guards strapped him to a restraint chair, forced a rubber tube down his nose, and pumped a liquid dietary supplement into his stomach. Guantánamo prison authorities also kept him in solitary confinement because they viewed his strike as “non-compliance.” He was only permitted to be outside of his cell for 2-4 hours per day. Unfortunately, he is often too weak to walk out of his cell and take advantage of this time. He has very little human contact. At one point Ba Odah weighed 160 pounds; in the past few years his strike caused his weight to drop as low as 75 pounds. For Tariq, protesting by hunger striking was the only way to communicate to those of us who have our freedom what it means to be unjustly detained, to be put in a cell for over a decade without charge.
“A captive does not possess any realistic means to send his messages to the world other than to strike. . . Freedom should be much more precious for the human being than all the desires on earth. And we should never give it up regardless of how expensive the price may be.” — Tariq Ba Odah, Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, April 2013
Ba Odah was released to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on April 16, 2016, and looks forward to rebuilding his life as a free man.