Sen. Feinstein Calls for End to Force-Feeding Guantanamo Prisoners

Wednesday, 19 Jun 2013 07:17 PM

By Greg Richter

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The Pentagon should stop force-feeding detainees at Guantanamo Bay who are on a hunger strike, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., says.

The Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman sent a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Wednesday saying the force-feeding violates international norms, medical ethics, and the standard practices of the Bureau of Prisons, The Hill reports.

"Hunger strikes are a long known form of non-violent protest aimed at bringing attention to a cause, rather than an attempt of suicide," Feinstein said in the letter. "I believe that the current approach raises very important ethical questions and complicates the difficult situation regarding the continued indefinite detention at Guantanamo."

As of Wednesday, 104 of the 166 detainees are reported to be engaging in a hunger strike, Talking Points Memo reports. Feinstein said she saw 40 of them being force-fed when she visited the facility last week.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, World Medical Association, and the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights have been critical of the Pentagon for the force-feedings.

"When force-feedings do occur within the Bureau of Prisons, we have been told that nearly 95 percent of the time they are conducted with a fully compliant inmate requiring no restraints," Feinstein wrote. "At Guantanamo Bay, on the other hand, all detainees being force-fed — regardless of their level of cooperation — are placed in chairs where they are forcibly restrained."

Read the total text of Feinstein's letter below:

Feinstein Letter To Hagel


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