Washington: Two top Democrat lawmakers has asked US President Barack Obama to end force feeding of the Guantanamo prisoners who are on hunger strike, and outline a formal process to permanently close this terrorist detention facility.
Senators Dianne Feinstein and Dick Durbin wrote in letter yesterday that daily mass feedings should be stopped and that the same safeguards need to be applied as in US prisons when feeding is necessary to keep a detainee from dying.
Just over 100 of the 166 prisoners at Guantanamo have been on a hunger strike for four months to protest their indefinite detention. Forty-four of them are strapped down each day and force-fed liquid nutrients through a nasal tube.
"It is our understanding that the US federal prison guidelines for force-feedings include several safeguards and oversight mechanisms that are not in place at Guantanamo Bay," the Senators said in their letter.
President Barack Obama this year renewed his 2008 campaign promise to close the military-run prison in Cuba and relocate the 166 terror suspects there, but Republicans and some Democrats have blocked the move.
The letter comes in the wake of the US District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Gladys Kessler expressed concern about the force-feeding of Guantanamo Bay detainees.
The Court denied detainee Jihad Dhiab`s motion for a preliminary injunction to stop force-feeding due to lack of jurisdiction.
However, Judge Kessler noted that Dhiab has set out in great detail in his court filings "what appears to be a consensus that force-feeding of prisoners violates Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which prohibits torture or cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment."