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Guantanamo nurse refuses to force feed detainees

[JURIST] A nurse at the Guantanamo detention center [JURIST backgrounder] has refused to participate in the force feeding [press release] of hunger striking inmates, UK human rights group Reprieve [advocacy website] reported Tuesday. Word of the unidentified nurse's refusal came via a phone call from detainee Abu Wael Dhiab to his lawyer at Reprieve and was confirmed to the Miami Herald [report] by a Department of Defense (DOD) spokesperson, who declined to provide further details. According to Reprieve, this is the first instance of a conscientious objecting to the force feeding of prisoners since a mass hunger strike began last year. As for the nurse, the DOD spokesperson said "the matter is now in the hands of the individual's leadership."

In May a judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] issued an order [text, PDF] allowing the military to resume force feeding Dhiab [JURIST report], stating that "the court is in no position to make the complex medical decisions necessary" to keep the prisoner alive. In the order, US District Judge Gladys Kessler said that she would not reissue a recent temporary order [JURIST report] that stopped the military from force feeding the Syrian detainee. Dhiab's lawyers argued that the military's practice of forcibly removing him and other prisoners from their cells, restraining them to a chair and feeding them by inserting tubes into the nose is illegal and abusive. Dhiab has been detained at Guantanamo since 2002 after being arrested in Pakistan on suspicion to terrorist activity targeting the US.

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