LONDON - A former detainee of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp has claimed that Florida governor and 2024 presidential contender Ron DeSantis witnessed him being tortured during the time he was stationed there, reveals The Independent in an interview with the Guantanamo prisoner.

Mansoor Adayfi, a Yemeni citizen who was held for 14 years on the US Naval base in Cuba, told The Independent in an extraordinary interview that he was brutally force-fed by camp staff during a hunger strike in 2006, and that Mr DeSantis was present for at least one of those sessions.

“He was watching, and I was really screaming, crying,” Mr Adayfi, a Yemeni, tells The Independent in a lengthy video interview from his home in Belgrade. “I was bleeding and throwing up. We were in the block yard, so they were close to the fence.”

The United Nations has characterised the force-feeding of hunger strikers at Guantanamo Bay as torture. The US government has denied that the practice amounts to torture, and it has been used against prisoners over successive administrations during hunger strikes.

Mr DeSantis was stationed on the base between March 2006 and January 2007, according to his military records.

An investigation by The Independent details the following claims:

- Two prisoners held at the camp at the time Mr DeSantis was stationed there claim he witnessed the forced-feeding of hunger-striking prisoners.

- Mr Adayfi claims that Mr DeSantis had initially told him he was there for the detainees’ welfare.

- Mr DeSantis was stationed at Guantanamo during a year marked by riots, hunger strikes and death.

- Part of his role was to field concerns and complaints from prisoners.

- Mr DeSantis emerged from his time at Guantanamo as an advocate for its continued use, and against the release of detainees

Mr DeSantis has not responded to several requests from The Independent for comment on the allegations and for clarity about his role in the notorious prison camp.

As an assumed candidate for the 2024 election, Mr DeSantis is likely to face questions about this time in his career and what impact — if any — witnessing the treatment of Guantanamo detainees has had on his politics.

Until now, he has not spoken in detail about this part of his career. In public, he has advocated for the continued use of Guantanamo Bay to hold detainees suspected of involvement of terrorism, but he has not spoken in detail about his time spent at the camp.

But Mr Adayfi is not the only former detainee who says that they recognised Mr DeSantis from their time at the prison camp.

Ahmed Abdel Aziz, a former prisoner who was released after 13 years without being charged with a crime and is currently back at home in Mauritania, also claims that Mr DeSantis witnessed the force-feeding at Guantanamo.

The use of torture at Guantanamo Bay — euphemistically referred to as “enhanced interrogation” by the Bush administration — was approved by defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld for use as early as 2002. Those techniques included “hooding, stress positions, isolation, stripping, deprivation of light, removal of religious items, forced grooming, and use of dogs”, according to a 2005 Human Rights Watch report.