According to reports this morning from inside the U.S. Penitentiary, Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX) in Florence, CO, eight to nine people held in the super-secret H-Unit are on hunger strike and are being force-fed. While run by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), the unit has strong FBI involvement in its management.
In November of last year, Solitary Watch published a court document compiled for Ayyah v. Holder, a civil action filed in a federal district court in Colorado. The document was a declaration by Mahmud Abouhalima, who received a 240-year sentence upon being convicted of taking part in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. After serving some time in general population prisons within the federal system, Abouhalima landed in H-Unit at ADX, the federal government’s only supermax prison.
In his declaration, Abouhalima challenges his confinement on the grounds that it violates his constitutional right to due process. He also claims the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is heavily involved in managing H-Unit, with its authority overriding that of BOP administrative staff. By law, the FBI is not authorized to run prisons in the U.S.
The BOP’s internal audit of its own solitary operations – now underway – specifically exempts H-Unit from firsthand visits by its investigative team.
Below are excerpts from Abouhalima’s court declaration:
Since September 11, 2001, through today, I have been in administrative detention and faced brutal and systematic mental, spiritual, and psychological cruelty. I never believed that such an unusual punishment would be extended up until today, where I have lived in a prison cell for the last ten years that is the size of a closet. I am fed like a zoo animal through a slot in the door, and manacled and chained at the hands, waist, and legs when I leave the cell. A black box with heavy lock is placed on top of my wrist chains in addition to this when I am escorted out of the unit, like to the hospital or to a visit…
Sitting in a small box in a walking distance of eight feet, this little hole becomes my world, my dining room, reading and writing area, sleeping, walking, urinating, and defecating. I am virtually living in a bathroom, and this concept has never left my mind in ten years. The toilet only works if you flush it once every five minutes, so if I press the flush button twice by mistake, I have to wait for up to an hour, with the smell of urine and defecation still there, everywhere I go, sit, stand, or sleep.
Read the entire declaration here.