Doctors: Force-Feedings at Guantanamo Have Been Used to Break Political Protests, Not Saves Lives
|By: Kevin Gosztola Tuesday November 5, 2013 8:39 pm|
A new report from a task force convened by the Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) and the Open Society Foundations highlights the role medical professionals have played in breaking political protests among detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
There are more than 160 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, who remain imprisoned. Only a few detainees have been charged with any crimes. Over 80 prisoners have been cleared for transfer by a presidential review task force established by President Barack Obama.
This year at Guantanamo one of the biggest hunger strikes in the history of the facility took place. Lawyers for detainees reported more than 100 prisoners in the prison were at one point participating in the hunger strike, which aimed to call attention to the inhumanity and hopelessness of their indefinite detention. But the hunger strike, an act of protest, was eventually broken through force-feedings that involved medical personnel.
The Task Force declares in their report titled, “Ethics Abandoned,” which was put together by doctors, “The policy of force-feeding deviates from standard, accepted medical and ethical treatment of hunger strikers and, depending on the individual circumstances, amounts to either torture or inhuman and degrading treatment.” It calls particular attention to the use of a restraint chair, which the facility began to employ in a punitive manner.
“The Task Force is aware of no precedent for using physical restraints to force-feed hunger strikers for more than a handful of episodes, much less for weeks and months (and in at least one case, years) at a time,” the report declares. Yet, since 2006, the use of restraint chairs have been normalized and any prisoner engaged in a hunger strike is likely to be fed in a restraint chair, even if that prisoner’s health does not face serious risks from not eating….