Guantanamo force feeding

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Nasal tubes, gravity feeding bags, and the liquid nutrient Ensure used in Guantanamo force feeding. For more illustrations, see [1]

Detainees held in the United States' Guantanamo Bay detention camps have initiated both individual and widespread hunger strikes at Guantánamo Bay, and camp medical authorities have initiated force-feeding programs.[2][3][4][5][6][7]

In 2005, Captain John Edmonson, who was then Naval Base's chief medical officer, asserted that force feeding was a last resort, used only when counseling failed, and when the detainee's body mass index fell below the healthy range. According to Edmonson detainees normally cooperated, and restraints were unnecessary.[3] According to Edmonson detainees were normally only given 1500 Calories per day.

The UN Human Rights Commission said it regards force-feeding at Guantanamo as a form of torture and the World Medical Association specifically prohibited force-feeding in its Declaration of Tokyo.

Rapper Yasiin Bey, also known as Mos Def, volunteered for a demonstration with Reprieve based on the leaked documents of the procedure.[8] Guantanamo medical personnel criticized the demonstration as false. One nurse said of the detainees, "Most are asking us to hurry up, make it go faster." A Guantanamo watch commander, and former fan, reacted by deleting Mos Def's music from his iPod.[9]

Medical concerns

More than 250 doctors from the UK, the US, Ireland, Germany, Australia, Italy and the Netherlands condemned the US for force-feeding of hunger strikes at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. They said "We urge the US government to ensure that detainees are assessed by independent physicians and that techniques such as force-feeding and restraint chairs are abandoned," The doctors said also that the World Medical Association specifically prohibited force-feeding and they want the association to instigate disciplinary proceedings against any members known to have violated the code.[10]

In 1975, the World Medical Association issued the Declaration of Tokyo, guidelines for physicians. The declaration states: "Where a prisoner refuses nourishment and is considered by the physician as capable of forming an unimpaired and rational judgement concerning the consequences of such a voluntary refusal of nourishment, he or she shall not be fed artificially."[11]

Torture Claims

Former prisoner Fouzi Khalid Abdullah Al Odah told the BBC in 2006 that force-feeding of hunger strikers in Guantanamo amounts to torture and the UN Human Rights Commission said it regards force-feeding at Guantanamo as a form of torture,[12][13] a charge the US firmly has repeatedly denied.[citation needed]

On 29 February 2006, Richard G. Murphy Jr. and other lawyers for detainee Mohammad Bawazir filed a claim that force-feeding was torture.[14] The lawyers claim that the military made the force-feeding process unnecessarily painful and humiliating to break a hunger strike that at one point included more than 100 detainees.


The earliest known case of force-feeding prisoners in Guantanamo Bay occurred in early 2002 when two hunger strikers were hospitalized for malnutrition. The pair were holdouts from a hunger strike which began as a response to Guantanamo guards removing a makeshift turban from one of the prisoners. The strike initially had up to 194 participants, however that number dropped precipitously when the general in charge of the prison announced that prisoners would be allowed to wear turbans.[15] In these initial cases, prisoners were sedated as opposed to restrained prior to being given nutrition.[16] Restraints were used in force feeding at least as early as early 2005 in response to another hunger strike by prisoners to protest prison conditions. In this case, 105 prisoners were refusing food, although to varying extents. The military acknowledged that twenty prisoners were being force fed. In these cases, many prisoners passively accepted nasal feeding, though others were restrained with leg shackles and handcuffs.[17]

Gurney with leg restraints


Though initially not used, the military began the use of restraint chairs for feeding hunger-striking prisoners in December 2005 to prevent them from vomiting up forced nutrition.[18][19]


In 2005, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ordered the military to provide to prisoners' attorneys: notice within 24 hours of the commencement of force feeding, the prisoners' medical records, and weekly status updates about the prisoners' health.[20]

In 2013, hunger striker Jihad Ahmed Mustafa Dhiab sought an injunction in federal court to stop the government from force-feeding him.[21] On 16 May 2014, Senior United States District Judge Gladys Kessler ordered the military to stop the force-feeding of the Syrian prisoner until his appointed hearing, scheduled for 21 May 2014.[22] The judge has since authorized the force-feeding.[23] In October 2014, District Judge Kessler determined that she had no jurisdiction over confinement conditions at Guantanamo.[24] After the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected that theory, Dhabi again sought an injunction to stop the force feedings.[21] In November 2014, District Judge Kessler again denied Dhabi relief.[25]

However, in the course of discovery, the government disclosed that it had recorded its force-feedings of Dhabi and classified the videotapes as "SECRET".[21] Sixteen news organizations intervened seeking access to the tapes of Dhabi being force fed.[21] In October 2014, District Judge Kessler ordered the tapes unsealed.[26]

The D.C. Circuit, in an unsigned opinion joined by Chief Circuit Judge Merrick Garland, determined it did not yet have jurisdiction over the interlocutory order but encouraged the district court to consider additional declarations made by the government.[27] In December 2015, District Judge Kessler again ordered the tapes to be redacted and unsealed.[28]

In March 2017, the D.C. Circuit ordered that the tapes remain secret, with the panel unanimously voting to reverse but with each of the three judges providing different reasons in separate opinions.[29] Senior Judge A. Raymond Randolph argued that the press has no right to access classified court filings made by prisoners petitioning for habeas corpus and that the lower court clearly erred by not deferring to declarations by Rear Admirals Kyle Cozad and Richard W. Butler asserting a national security threat.[21] Judge Judith W. Rogers argued that the First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides the public a qualified right to access prisoners' court filings but agreed that the government had identified a national security interest justifying secrecy.[21] Senior Judge Stephen F. Williams also agreed that national security justified secrecy but questioned if the government could logically keep all Guantanamo filings secret.[21]

See also


  1. ^ Photos from Guantanamo’s force-feeding facilities Archived 11 May 2015 at the Wayback Machine, Washington Post 10 May 2013
  2. ^ "Guantanamo Standard Operating Procedures". Joint Task Force Guantanamo. 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 February 2010.
  3. ^ a b Kathleen Rehm (1 December 2005). "GTMO feedings humane, within medical care standards". The Wire (JTF-GTMO). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 February 2010. Retrieved 2 February 2010.
  4. ^ JTF-GTMO (16 March 2007). "Measurements of Heights and Weights of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba". Department of Defense. Archived from the original on 25 January 2009. Retrieved 22 December 2008.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  5. ^ Sonia Saini, Almerindo Ojeda. "Heights, weights, and in-processing dates". Archived from the original on 21 December 2009.
  6. ^ "Mefasurements of Heights and Weights of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (ordered and consolidated version)"., from DoD data. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 December 2009.
  7. ^ Worthington, Andy (2009). "Starvation statistics". Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 December 2009.
  8. ^ Ferguson, Ben (9 July 2013). "When Yasiin Bey was force-fed Guantánamo Bay-style – eyewitness account". Archived from the original on 24 November 2016. Retrieved 17 December 2016 – via The Guardian.
  9. ^ Sutton, Jane (26 July 2013). "Rapper's force-feeding video riles U.S. medics at Guantanamo Bay". Reuters. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  10. ^ "Doctors attack US over Guantanamo". BBC News. 10 March 2006. Archived from the original on 21 January 2010. Retrieved 7 August 2010.
  11. ^ Cornwell, Rupert (14 April 2013). "Guantanamo Bay - President Obama's shame: The forgotten prisoners of America's own Gulag". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 3 July 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  12. ^ "Guantanamo man tells of 'torture'". BBC News. 3 March 2006. Archived from the original on 27 January 2010. Retrieved 7 August 2010.
  13. ^ "Red Cross chief blasts US for force-feeding Gitmo inmates". Archived from the original on 14 April 2013. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  14. ^ White, Josh (1 March 2006). "Guantanamo Force-Feeding Tactics Are Called Torture". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 24 August 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  15. ^ Schmitt, Eric (2 March 2002). "A NATION CHALLENGED: CAPTIVES; A Concession On Turbans Calms Protest In Cuba Camp". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 27 May 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  16. ^ Dao, James (2 April 2002). "Navy Doctors Force-Feeding 2 Prisoners". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  17. ^ Lewis, Neil A. (18 September 2005). "Widespread Hunger Strike at Guantanamo". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  18. ^ Golden, Tim (9 February 2006). "Tough U.S. Steps in Hunger Strike at Camp in Cuba". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  19. ^ Schmitt, Eric; Golden, Tim (22 February 2006). "Force-Feeding at Guantánamo Is Now Acknowledged". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 6 July 2014. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  20. ^ Harris, Neil A. (27 October 2005). "Striking Guantánamo Detainees Gain in Ruling". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 5 October 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g Note, Recent Case: D.C. Circuit Holds Press Cannot Unseal Classified Videos of Guantanamo Bay Detainee, 131 Harv. L. Rev. 902 (2018).
  22. ^ Savage, Charlie (16 May 2014). "Judge Orders U.S. to Stop Force-Feeding Syrian Held at Guantánamo". The New York Times. p. A12. Archived from the original on 9 October 2015. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  23. ^ Lamothe, Dan (23 May 2014). "U.S. judge permits force-feeding of Guantanamo prisoner but rebukes the military". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 17 September 2016. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  24. ^ Dhiab v. Obama, 952 F. Supp. 2d 154 (D.D.C. 2013).
  25. ^ Dhiab v. Obama, 74 F. Supp. 3d 16 (D.D.C. 2014).
  26. ^ Dhiab v. Obama, 70 F. Supp. 3d 486 (D.D.C. 2014).
  27. ^ Dhiab v. Obama, 787 F.3d 563 (D.C. Cir. 2015).
  28. ^ Dhiab v. Obama, 141 F. Supp. 3d 23 (D.D.C. 2015).
  29. ^ Dhiab v. Trump, 852 F.3d 1087 (D.C. Cir. 2017).

External links

The article is a derivative under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. A link to the original article can be found here and attribution parties here. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use. Gpedia Ⓡ is a registered trademark of the Cyberajah Pty Ltd.