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US seeks to block release of Guantanamo prisoner said to be in dire health from hunger strike

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MIAMI — The administration of President Barack Obama is asking a federal judge not to order the immediate release of a Guantanamo prisoner who is described by his lawyers as being near death from an eight-year hunger strike.

Justice Department lawyers argue against the release of Yemeni prisoner Tariq Ba Odah in a sealed court filing delivered to a federal court in Washington on Friday. A Justice Department statement says the filing is sealed because it deals with a detainee's medical issues and a public version will be made available later.

Lawyers for Ba Odah have filed a petition seeking his immediate release on health grounds. Ba Odah has been force fed daily since 2007 but his lawyers say he has dropped to about 75 pounds.

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