[JURIST] A nurse who refused to force feed hunger strikers at the Guantanamo detention center [JURIST backgrounder] will not be court-martialed. Navy Captain Maureen Pennington, the nurse’s commander, chose not to court-martial but recommended that the officer be required to show cause for retention in the Navy. A board will determine whether the nurse should be allowed to stay in the US Navy [official website]. Details of the episode will remain private for administrative review. According to UK human rights group Reprieve [advocacy website], this is the first instance of conscientious objecting [JURIST report] to force feeding prisoners since the mass hunger strike began last year.
Hunger strikes [JURIST backgrounder] at Guantanamo Bay have been frequently used by detainees to protest conditions of the detention center and their general detainment. 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 a detainee [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. The detainees’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.