Tariq Ba Odah's Eight-Year Hunger Strike at Guantanamo Bay

July 6, 2015
Rolling Stone

Tariq Ba Odah would be a slight man, even if he were willing to eat. His shoulders are barely wide enough to keep his orange prison uniform in place. His wrists are childlike and his hands delicate, veins visible all the way to the ends of his fingers. When his arm is straightened, he can almost touch the tip of his pinky to his thumb around his own bicep. The combination of his raised cheekbones and beard cast a shadow down the side of his face. His eyes and nose are naturally large, though they take on particular prominence now that his weight has fallen under 80 pounds. Ba Odah's curly black hair, which he keeps shoulder-length, does little to fill out his profile. The office chairs in the cells in Camp Echo, where Guantanamo prisoners and attorneys typically meet, appear to swallow Ba Odah up. Sores plague him. The pain in his stomach and back cause him to shift in place moment to moment. All of this gives Ba Odah the appearance of, as a fellow prisoner put it, a bird about to take flight. But Ba Odah has been caged at Guantanamo for more than 13 years, despite being cleared for release by the nation's top national security agencies. He is 36 years old. ...

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Last modified 

July 6, 2015