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.
Ba Odah v. Obama is a habeas corpus petition on behalf of Tariq Ba Odah, a Yemeni man who has been detained at Guantánamo without charge since 2002. The Obama administration cleared him for release in 2009, but, like other cleared Yemenis at the prison, he remains arbitrarily detained solely because of his citizenship. He has now 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, and it continues to this day.
As a result of his peaceful hunger strike, Ba Odah is force-fed daily, a practice widely condemned as torture. Twice a day, guards strap him to a restraint chair, force a rubber tube down his nose, and pump a liquid dietary supplement into his stomach. Guantánamo prison authorities also keep him in solitary confinement because they view his strike as “non-compliance.” In his current confinement, Ba Odah is 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 has caused his weight to drop as low as 75 pounds. Tariq says that protesting by hunger striking is 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, April 2013, Guantánamo Bay, Cuba
CCR continues to advocate for Ba Odah's release publically, in international legal fora, and directly with the U.S. government. Despite all that he has suffered, Ba Odah’s spirit perseveres, as does his commitment to continuing his peaceful protest. He awaits the day that he will be able to return to his loving mother and extended family and begin rebuilding his life as a free man.