Target: U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler
Goal: Applaud decision to halt painful and invasive force-feeding procedure
A judge recently halted the force-feeding of a hunger striking prisoner in Guantanamo Bay, and has ordered all records and video evidence of the force-feeding to be kept. Abu Wa’el Dhiab, a Syrian citizen, has been on hunger strike since February, 2013 and has been subjected to a brutal force-feeding procedure since midyear 2013. The judge ruled that the procedures are in violation of medical ethics and personal liberty, and ordered the military to cease immediately.
During force-feeding, medical tubes are put through prisoners’ noses into their stomachs in order to deliver a liquid nutrient formula. Uncooperative prisoners are forcibly extracted from their cells and restrained during the feedings. This procedure is extremely painful and has even been labeled as torture in some countries. Over 250 international doctors have spoken out against it.
Mr. Wa’el Dihab, a former ambulance driver, was arrested in Pakistan and accused of terrorist activities. He has been held without charge since 2009, despite having been cleared for release. He has been on hunger strike for over a year in order to protest the conditions of his detention.
Hundreds of prisoners remain incarcerated under similar conditions, forced to endure the same feeding procedure. Having video evidence of the extraction, restraining and force-feeding of prisoners will be helpful in future cases and could possibly aid in an investigation into the unlawful procedures performed at Guantanamo Bay. Applaud the judge’s decision to respect prisoner autonomy by halting cruel and invasive force-feedings.
Dear Judge Kessler,
Recently a decision was made to stop force-feeding procedures on Abu Wa’el Dhiab, a Syrian prisoner arrested in Pakistan. Mr. Wa’el Dhiab has been on hunger strike for over a year and has been enduring the painful and invasive procedure for over half of that period. Force-feeding of liquid nutrients is considered torture by some governments, and hundreds of doctors have spoken out against it.
You ordered a halt this procedure, as well as the retention of all video evidence of the forcible removal of Mr. Wa’el Dhiab from his cell. This will restore his autonomy, as well as provide possible evidence should there be an investigation into misconduct during force-feeding. I applaud your ruling, which sets a precedence for the treatment of inmates while protecting their right to peacefully protest inhumane and unjust conditions.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: DoD via Creative Commons