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US judge temporarily halts force-feeding of Guantanamo prisoner

Published time: May 17, 2014 04:21
AFP Photo / Getty Images / John Moore

AFP Photo / Getty Images / John Moore

For the first time, a US federal judge has temporarily barred the US military from force-feeding a Guantanamo Bay prisoner on a hunger strike.

US District Court Judge Gladys Kessler ordered the military not to force-feed Syrian national Abu Wa'el Dhiab until the court schedules a hearing for next Wednesday. The decision was based on a petition the prisoner filed to stop the enteral feeding practice.

The order also prevents military personnel from moving Dhiab from his cell to receive sustenance, which is usually done if the prisoner refuses to cooperate.

"Respondents are temporarily restrained from any Forcible Cell Extractions of Petitioner for purposes of enteral feeding and any enteral feeding of Petitioner until May 21, 2014," Kessler said in her order.

Last July, Kessler decided not to consider Dhiab's petition, citing her lack of authority, while at the same time urging US President Barack Obama to address the issue.

The case was reinstated in February by a federal appeals court which ruled that district court judges have the authority to consider such petitions, adding that force-feeding is likely legal if the overall goal is to prevent serious injury or death.

An appellate panel agreed in a 2-1 vote, opening the door for inmates’ attorneys to re-challenge their clients’ ongoing detainment and any force-feeding practices they endured while protesting their lengthy incarceration.

The prisoners' protest – which began with six hunger strikers in March 2013 – hit a high last summer, with over 100 inmates opting out of meals during most of June and July. The number of prisoners receiving enteral feeds peaked at 46 detainees in the second half of July.

Comments (15)


Freethinker 18.05.2014 18:50

After all this time and the USA is still ill treating its prisoners.


Claudia 18.05.2014 10:52

roy buch 17.05.2014 15:42

It's good to see the hearing proceeding, however, i can't help feeling it's all show; the courts will rule the practice is used to "prevent" injury, and/or death, and therefore legal. But America is about "saving" people so it can torture them, bottom line. By saving i mean, finding new and improved ways of breaking one's will, and producing a mindless drone conformist.


Well, in this case forced feeding is an extension of the tortures. Because these people are so much tortured that they dont want to life anymore. I can only see this as a act against humanity.


JessicaS 17.05.2014 16:57

Heatherapino, ThelmaEHaworth, NoaKRobinson and others.......... I can only conclude that you are deliberately trying to discredit RT and its bonafide contributors by attempting to flood the site with false get rich schemes. I don't know if you are working independently or as a cohort, possibly in the pay of a clandestine organisation. But you are known and so are your intentions.

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