Abdul Rahman Shalabi: Longest Hunger Striker

“I am a human being who is treated like an animal,” wrote Abdul Rahman Shalabi to his lawyers in September of 2009, and reported here by Andy Worthington.

Abdul Rahman Shalabi has been on hunger strike for years.  Unlike most of the large number of hunger strikers who began eating after being force fed through tubes down their noses twice daily, Abdul continued to refuse food.  What he has suffered from this alone is unimaginable to me.

From Saudi Arabia, he says that he want to Afghanistan to teach the Qur’an. He had not finished his own studies, but he was urged by his instructors, who thought he was competent to do so, to go to Afghanistan and teach there.

As so often in these stories, there are unsubstantiated allegations from unnamed sources, probably a fellow prisoner under torture, that he was a body guard of Osama Bin Laden and was seen with him.  It is, however, most likely that he is exactly who he says he is.

Though there are reports of his having taken some nourishment, he is still said by Andy Worthington and his lawyers to be dangerously underweight and very ill.

Dr. Matt Wynia, Director of the Institute for Ethics at the American Medical Association says:

“The American Medical Association (AMA) has repeatedly stated opposition to force-feeding competent individuals against their will.[6] The World Medical Association Declaration of Malta concludes that ‘forced feeding contrary to an informed and voluntary refusal is…never ethically acceptable…[and] feeding accompanied by threats, coercion, force or use of physical restraints is a form of inhuman and degrading treatment.[7]'”

Inhuman and degrading treatment of prisoners is a war crime and a crime against humanity.

To force feed Abdul Rahman Shalabi, prisoner guards chain him to a restraint chair and force a tube down his nose very much against his will.  From years of imprisonment and being treated like an animal, his health is greatly affected, and he remains dangerously underweight.


Let us demand the release of all these prisoners and remember the sufferings of Abdul Rahman Shalabi.

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