|Rapper 'Mos Def' Takes Force-Feeding as US Defends Gitmo Practice|
|Abby D. Phillip||Jul 9, 2013, 12:59 PM|
(Image Credit: Reprieve and Bafta)
Rapper-actor Yasiin Bey, aka Mos Def, has released a video of his being force-fed in protest of a procedure the U.S. government has administered to dozens of Guantanamo Bay prisoners.
His voluntary feeding was orchestrated and recorded by the human rights group Reprieve and Bafta.
It shows Bey, 39, dressed in an orange prison jump suit and shackled to a chair while a feeding tube is pushed through his nose and into his body.
He was subject to the "standard operating procedure" for force-feeding detainees in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba, according to Bey and the video's organizers, who released the four-minute video Monday.
By the end of the video, he is seen yelling "stop" and sobbing in the chair. Watch the video HERE (viewer discretion is advised).
"I really didn't know what to expect," he says in the video. "The first part of it is not that bad, then you get this burning … and it just starts to be really unbearable."
"I really couldn't take it," he adds.
It's unclear where the video was filmed, who inserted the feeding tube and how long Bey endured the feeding, but video producers say the procedure can take two hours for a Gitmo prisoner.
More than 100 prisoners have been on a hunger strike for several months, and 45 of them are being forcibly fed through a "nasogastric tube," according to the Justice Department.
With the start of the Islamic observance Ramadan today, in which Muslims worldwide fast for a month, increased scrutiny is being placed on the practice of forcing detainees to ingest liquid nutrients despite their fast.
Bey, born Dante Smith in Brooklyn, N.Y., is also Muslim.
At a hearing in the Senate today, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., called the procedure "inhumane."
"It's the wrong thing to do," she said.
The Justice Department has defended its right to feed the prisoners "to preserve their health and lives," according to a brief the government filed in court Monday.
The issue has also reached President Obama's attention publicly.
At a major national security speech in May, Obama was interrupted by a heckler who decried the practice of force-feeding prisoners and called for him to unilaterally close Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba
At the time, Obama offered sympathy for the protestor's cause, but he has not ordered the military to end the practice.
"Look at the current situation, where we are force-feeding detainees who are being held on a hunger strike," Obama said. "I'm willing to cut the young lady who interrupted me some slack because it's worth being passionate about. Is this who we are? Is that something our Founders foresaw?"
A Federal judge Monday said that while it could not make a ruling on whether Gitmo detainees can be force-fed by the military, Obama should use his authority to decide.
"The President of the United States, as Commander-in-Chief, has authority - and power - to directly address the issue of force-feeding of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay," U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler wrote.
ABC News' Mike Levine contributed to this report.