A protracted battle by Gitmo detainee Abu Wa’el Dhlab seeking to end the often violent force-feedings he faces from US military personnel has gained him at least a temporary reprieve, as US District Judge Gladys Kessler today issued a temporary ban on force-feeding him pending a hearing on Wednesday.
In July of last year Judge Kessler ruled the force-feedings an almost certain violation of international law, but insisted she didn’t have the jurisdiction to halt them, urging President Obama to do so.
That obviously wasn’t going to happen, and in February an appeals court reinstated the case, sending it back to Kessler with instructions that she does have the authority to rule on the matter, but also saying the appeals court reckoned force-feeding was “likely lawful.”
The Pentagon has come under intense fire for its policy of force-feeding detainees who engage in hunger strikes to protest their mistreatment, with many calling it a de facto punitive measure. The Pentagon’s use of tubes much thicker than those normally used in tube feedings, nominally done to “save time,” has also drawn complaints that the procedures amount to torture.
At times last year the military was force-feeding the majority of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, though at present the extent of the hunger strikes is unclear, as in December the Pentagon announced that it will never again offer any confirmations on the status of the strikes.
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