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Khalid Qassim: The US government is starving me to death

I haven’t had food in my stomach for 23 days. The 20 September was the day they told us they would no longer feed us. They have decided to leave us to waste away and die instead.

I am in so much pain every minute that I know it can’t go on much longer. Now as each night comes, I wonder if I will wake up in the morning. When will my organs fail? When will my heart stop? I am slowly slipping away and no one notices.

I started hunger strike because I was so frustrated, so depressed – I have been locked up here so far from my family for 15 years. I have never been charged with a crime and I have never been allowed to prove my innocence. Yet I am still here. And now President Donald Trump says that none of us – the 26 “forever” prisoners who have apparently committed no crime, but merit no trial – will ever leave here so long as he is in charge.

This was the only peaceful way I thought I could protest. What I really want, for me and for the other men here, is justice. Certainly, I never wanted to die in the pain I’m now in.

They have stopped feeding us before but this time feels different. They want to stop the hunger strike by any means. They keep repeating: if you lose part of your body that is your choice; if you are damaged, that is your choice. They intend to leave us until we lose a kidney or another organ. They will wait until we are damaged. Maybe until we are too damaged to live.

On 29 September, I collapsed. Still I got no treatment. Still they continue to starve me. I can’t walk anymore. My hip joints are swollen and it is too painful. I am so tired and so weak.

The worst thing is, the medical staff aren’t recording anything. They don’t check how close I may be to death. The nurses are writing nothing down. They don’t reply when I ask them if they’ve recorded my missed meals.

These days have been the most terrifying of my 15 years in this place. We are used to torture here but this is so slow and so cruel. The people who are supposed to look after us are hurting us. I have been reduced to pleading for my life. I am asking for anyone out there to talk about what’s going on here. To ask why President Trump is letting us slowly die. I don’t have many days left.

Khalid Qassim, from Yemen, has been held at Guantánamo Bay since 2002. He has never been tried or charged with a crime. Khalid has spent most of his adult life in Guantánamo. He now wants nothing more than to be free so he can reunite with his family and rebuild his life.

A longer version of this article was published on the Guardian website, and is available here.