Judge allows forced feeding to resume on Guantanamo detainee

This is the restraint chair used to force-feed detainees on hunger strike at the detainee hospital at Camp Delta.

Story highlights

  • A federal judge says she has no choice in allowing forced feeding to resume
  • 'The court simply cannot let (the detainee) die,' the judge writes
  • Mohammed Abu Wa'el Dhiab, 42, a Syrian, has been detained since 2002 arrest
  • Dhiab is 'swiftly deteriorating' because he refuse to eat or drink
A federal judge has lifted a temporary ban on painful forced feedings of a Guantanamo Bay detainee, saying she had no choice and "the court simply cannot let (him) die."
In the meantime, the court will advance a "speedy exchange" of information about terrorism detainee Mohammed Abu Wa'el Dhiab's request to stop what he describes as abusive forced feedings, U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler ruled late Thursday.
Dhiab, 42, a Syrian, was arrested in Pakistan in 2002 and has been detained in the U.S. military's facility for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo for more than 10 years, according to the London-based human rights group Reprieve.
Dhiab has stopped eating, and his case is example of the forced feedings at Guantanamo, which the U.S. government has been administering typically to detainees who go on hunger strikes. Dhiab was cleared for release by the Obama administration in 2009 and has never been charged, Reprieve's website said.
Kessler said the court "is now faced with an anguishing Hobson's choice: reissue another temporary restraining order despite the very real probability that Mr. Dhiab will die, because he has indicated a continuing desire to refuse to eat and/or drink liquids, or refuse to issue the TRO and allow the medical personnel on the scene to take the medical actions to keep Mr. Dhiab alive, but at the possible cost of great pain and suffering."
"The Court is in no position to make the complex medical decisions necessary to keep Mr. Dhiab alive," the judge said. "Thanks to the intransigence of the Department of Defense, Mr. Dhiab may well suffer unnecessary pain from certain enteral feeding practices and forcible cell extractions. However, the Court simply cannot let Mr. Dhiab die."
The judge noted that Mr. Dhiab's physical condition has been "swiftly deteriorating, in large part because he was refusing food and/or water."