Only Obama Can Stop the ‘Degrading’ Force-Feeding of Gitmo Prisoners, Says Federal Judge

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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A federal judge ruled she would overstep her authority if she issued an injunction to stop the force-feeding of Guantanamo Bay prisoners, claiming that only President Barack Obama has the power to stop the “painful” daily procedures.

U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler dismissed a requested from a Syrian detainee, Jihad Dhiab, who requested she put a stop to force-feeding of prisoners. It was one of four legal efforts by detainees to stop the procedures. Some detainees have been refusing food since the February hunger strike began. They continue to be force-fed through tubes, despite the fact that Ramadan began on Monday. There are 45 of about 106 hunger striking prisoners being force-fed.

To prove how painful the procedure is, hip-hop artist and actor Mos Def, also known as Yasiin Bey, underwent tube-feeding and filmed it for the human rights charity Reprieve.

“It is perfectly clear from the statements of detainees, as well as the statements from the organizations just cited, that force-feeding is a painful, humiliating, and degrading process,” wrote Kessler in a four-page ruling. "There is an individual who does have the authority to address the issue.”

"It would seem to follow," that President Obama could " directly address the issue of force-feeding the detainees," she added.

Dhiab’s attorney, Jon Eisenberg, called Kessler’s ruling “remarkable.”

“A federal judge has tossed the ball in the president’s court,” Eisenberg said. “What is he going to do about it?”

In April, the president of the American Medical Association, Dr. Jeremy A. Lazarus, wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel saying that doctors who participate in forced feedings are violating the “core ethical values of the medical profession.” 

Lazarus said doctors will to force-feed the detainees were in violation of “core ethical values of the medical profession.” 


Sources: RT.com, Washington Post