Forced feedings at Guantanamo

At last count, there were more than 100 detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison facility participating in the fifth month of a hunger strike.

According to the AP:

Lawyers for prisoners say the most recent hunger strike began in February as a protest of conditions and their indefinite confinement at the U.S. base in Cuba. The military says the hunger strike began in early March and that, as of Monday, 106 of the 166 detainees met the criteria to be declared hunger strikers, a definition that includes missing nine consecutive meals.

Prison medical officials have determined that 45 of the prisoners have lost enough weight that they can be fed liquid nutrients, by force if necessary, with a nasogastric tube to prevent them from starving themselves to death. The U.S. military intends to feed all prisoners, including those on hunger strike, before dawn and after sunset during the Muslim holy period of Ramadan to accommodate the men’s religious practices. Military officials have said the feeding process is not painful and only done to prevent any of the men from dying, not as punishment.

So the military says the process isn’t painful. The rapper formerly known as Mos Def decided to see if that was the case. The following video is not going to be pleasant. You have been warned:

A federal judge this week rejected a bid by a the hunger to block force-feeding at the Cuban detention center, but said that the practice appears to violate international law and urged President Barack Obama to step in.

That’s where it stands.

It doesn’t matter where you stand of the issue of the detainees’ possible guilt or innocence. What you do need to know is that this is what we’re doing in Guantanamo. You may not have known it, but the rest of the world is watching closely.

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