Finally Someone Says "NO" to Force-Feeding Prisoners at GTMO

Debra Sweet | July 22, 2014

Courageous resistance! A nurse involved in force-feeding Guantanamo prisoners says, “I have come to the decision that I refuse to participate in this criminal act.”

Reprieve reported July 15 that:

"A military medical professional at Guantanamo Bay recently refused to force-feed detainees after witnessing the suffering it caused detainees, it has been revealed.

“The incident is thought to be the first case of 'conscientious objection' to force-feeding at Guantánamo since a mass hunger-strike began at the prison last year. Cleared Syrian Abu Wa’el Dhiab related the news on a phone call last week with his Reprieve lawyer, Cori Crider. Dhiab explained that a military nurse recently told him he would no longer participate in force-feedings, saying: “I have come to the decision that I refuse to participate in this criminal act.”  

Carol Rosenberg in the Miami Herald reported:

“Word of the refusal reached the outside world last week in a call from a prisoner, Abu Wael Dhiab, to attorney Cori Crider of the London-based legal defense group Reprieve. Dhiab, a hunger striker, described how a nurse in the Navy medical corps abruptly refused to “force-feed us” sometime before the Fourth of July — and disappeared from detention center duty.”

Witness Against Torture made a striking image honoring the resistance of the as-yet-unnamed nurse and commented:

“The nurse’s refusal is an extraordinary act of conscience.  It speaks to the brutality of forced-feeding, which the hunger strikers describe as torture and medical and human rights bodies have denounced. It affirms the ethical obligations of medical professionals, which prohibit forced-feeding.  And it underscores the broader criminality of Guantánamo, where men are held indefinitely without charge or trial and further brutalized when they protest.”

Debra Sweet is the director of World Can't Wait.