Quantcast
Connect with us

Guantánamo hunger strikers subjected to harsh new method of force feeding

Published

on

Lawyers for inmates say humiliating body searches instituted for prisoners who wish to talk to their representatives

Hunger-strikers being force fed at Guantánamo Bay are shackled to a chair, fitted with a mask and have tubes inserted through their nose and into their stomachs for up to two hours at a time, according to revised guidelines in use at the camp.

ADVERTISEMENT

The guidelines, which were updated after the latest protest by inmates began in February, detail the process of involuntary feeding and how after the sessions, detainees are kept in a “dry cell” to prevent them vomiting. News of the 30-page Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) manual – which was first published on Monday, by al-Jazeera, and has since been confirmed to be genuine by the US military – comes amid fresh questions over the ethics of force-feeding protesters at the prison.

An editorial published earlier this month in the medical journal the Lancet suggests that there is a distinct moral line between force-feeding people who are refusing meals through impaired mental capacity and those doing so as a protest. It states: “In the latter case, the individual has weighed up the facts, and come to the conclusion that they will refuse nutrition, and risk death in order to correct a perceived injustice. Whether or not one agrees with this decision, to force-feed infringes the principle of patient autonomy.”

The Lancet editorial concludes that it “can only be hoped that those health workers responsible for the care of detainees act in an ethical manner: both for the benefit of the individuals concerned, and for the standards of humanity and dignity that both the medical profession, and the USA, are pledged to uphold”.

The new guidelines for medical management of hunger-strikers at Guantánamo Bay were implemented two months ago. By Monday, 100 of the 166 detainees at the camp were refusing food. Of those, 29 were being force-fed, with five in hospital.

According the revised SOP, which was introduced on 5 March – one month into the current protest – those subjected to forced feeds are shackled to a chair. A “mask is placed over the detainee’s mouth to prevent spitting and biting”. A tube is then inserted through a nostril and fed through the nasal passage to the stomach. Once the tube is taped into place, feeding begins. The SOP suggests that force-feeding can be completed in 20 to 30 minutes but that it can last up to two hours. On completion, inmates are placed in a “dry cell” without running water and watched for up to 60 minutes, for any “indications of vomiting or attempts to induce vomiting”.

ADVERTISEMENT

Those who have been subjected to the procedure have spoken about the pain and degradation they feel during the process. In an op-ed for the New York Times last month, Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel wrote: “I will never forget the first time they passed the feeding tube up my nose. I can’t describe how painful it is to be force-fed this way. As it was thrust in, it made me feel like throwing up. I wanted to vomit, but I couldn’t. There was agony in my chest, throat and stomach. I had never experienced such pain before. I would not wish this cruel punishment upon anyone.”

Moqbel’s legal representative, Clive Stafford Smith, attempted to speak to the inmate last Friday. But Moqbel, along with another inmate, declined the telephone call. It has been suggested that guards are now subjecting inmates to humiliating body searches if they want to speak to lawyers. Another lawyer, David Remes, told the news agency AFP over the weekend that two men he represents had declined calls. “Under the new search policy, a detainee who leaves his camp is subject to a search including his private parts and holding his private parts,” Remes alleged.

According to the AFP, he added that the “shocking” searches were “designed to deter many detainees from meeting with their clients … to make their life more miserable and put the detainees in front of an impossible choice”.

ADVERTISEMENT

Stafford Smith tweeted that two clients of his legal charity Reprieve had “refuse[d] legal calls. Referring to the remarks made by Remes, he added that “new military policy is to sexually abuse them in searches”.

Authorities denied that the searches were anything more than a “pat down”. A US military spokesman, Lt Col Samuel House, told the Guardian: “Full frisk searches are conducted in a professional manner to quickly locate and identify contraband hidden on the body. The searches are conducted with clothes on, similar to a pat-down search conducted by an airport security screener.”

ADVERTISEMENT

If a detainee refuses to be searched when leaving his cell for routine visits, such as a non-emergency medical appointment or a legal call, guards are obliged not to take them. House added that this policy was introduced “in light of contraband discovered during recent cell searches”.

© Guardian News and Media 2013


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

CNN

Trump has become ‘The Incredible Shrinking President’ as Americans tune him out: Pennsylvania AG

Published

on

On Monday, Pennsylvania's Democratic Attorney General, Josh Shapiro, hit back at President Donald Trump's threats that he would be "watching" the state for signs of voter fraud.

"What's your response to the president, who made those allegations without any evidence at all in your state?" asked anchor Wolf Blitzer.

"He says he's watching, about the only thing I have seen here in Pennsylvania is that Donald Trump has gone 0-5 in court challenges against us here," said Shapiro. "Court challenges where he has alleged widespread voter fraud, and yet never was able to back it up with a shred of evidence. That's why courts have dismissed these baseless lawsuits that he's filed. Apparently, now that he's lost in court time and time again, he's gone into the public square to spin a tale and tell these lies and attack our governor."

Continue Reading

COVID-19

COVID-19 causes some patients’ immune systems to attack their own bodies — and can worsen the illness

Published

on

Across the world, immunologists who retooled their labs to join the fight against SARS-CoV-2 are furiously trying to explain why some people get so sick while others recover unscathed. The pace is dizzying, but some clear trends have emerged.

One area of focus has been the production of antibodies – powerful proteins capable of disabling and killing invading pathogens like viruses. Of great concern has been the sporadic identification of so-called autoreactive antibodies that, instead of targeting disease causing microbes, target the tissues of individuals suffering from severe cases of COVID-19.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

REVEALED: Kayleigh McEnany called Biden a ‘man of the people’ who connects better with the ‘middle class’ than Trump

Published

on

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany is a loyal mouthpiece for President Donald Trump, both in presidential policy and against his political opponents in the election campaign. She has echoed Trump's attacks on Joe Biden, calling him a "radical socialist" and using monikers like "Sleepy."

But on Monday, CNN unearthed audio of McEnany from 2015 during an interview on New York AM970, in which she offered a very different view.

"I think the Republicans run into a problem if it is Joe Biden and if it is maybe a Trump on the other side," said McEnany. "Because Joe Biden, one of the things he is remarkable at is really kind of being a man of the people and resonating with middle class voters. Feeling like — coming off as human. His gaffes — as much as we make fun of them — to a certain extent they make him look human. So not, since he's likable."

Continue Reading
 
 
Democracy is in peril. Invest in progressive news. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free. LEARN MORE