Guantanamo: Force-Feeding Painful to Hunger Strikers
The Sunday Observer has reviewed a sworn statement from Captain John S Edmondson, commander of Guantanamo's hospital about the force-feeding of 81 detainees on a hunger strike.
New details have emerged of how the growing number of prisoners on hunger strike at GuantÃ¡namo Bay are being tied down and force-fed through tubes pushed down their nasal passages into their stomachs to keep them alive. They routinely experience bleeding and nausea, according to a sworn statement by the camp's chief doctor, seen by The Observer.
Edmondson describes the force-feeding procedure and says:
It is painful.... Although 'non-narcotic pain relievers such as ibuprofen are usually sufficient, sometimes stronger drugs,' including opiates such as morphine, have had to be administered.
Is this supposed to be a positive statistic?
Although some prisoners have had to be tied down while being force-fed, 'only one patient' has had to be immobilised with a six-point restraint, and 'only one' passed out. 'In less than 10 cases have trained medical personnel had to use four-point restraint in order to achieve insertion.'
A lawsuit is pending against the Doctor in Los Angeles for violating ethical standards by agreeing to force-feed the striking detainees.
Article 5 of the 1975 World Medical Association Tokyo Declaration, which US doctors are legally bound to observe through their membership of the American Medical Association, states that doctors must not undertake force-feeding under any circumstances.
There's two more things to note about Guantanamo:
- The camp will be four years old this month.
Many [have] not been charged with any crime, nor been allowed to see any evidence justifying their detention.
- When Sens. Lindsay Graham and Carl Levin gutted the McCain torture amendment by barring Guantanamo detainees from contesting the conditions of their confinement in federal court, it's going to be harder for abuses to come to light.
This and other GuantÃ¡namo lawsuits now face extinction. Last week, President Bush signed into law a measure removing detainees' right to file habeas corpus petitions in the US federal courts. On Friday, the administration asked the Supreme Court to make this retroactive, so nullifying about 220 cases in which prisoners have contested the basis of their detention and the legality of pending trials by military commission.
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