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US Navy nurse refuses to force-feed Guantanamo prisoners

US Navy nurse refuses to force-feed Guantanamo prisoners

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A US Navy medical officer has refused to participate in forced feedings at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. Abu Wa'el Dhiab, who has been held at Guantanamo since 2002, recently revealed the act of rebellion while speaking to his attorney. Like many of his fellow detainees, Dhiab is currently part of a long-running hunger strike meant to draw attention to the indefinite detentions that are commonplace at the prison. They're also angry about President Obama's failure to close Guantanamo; worse yet, the US has dragged its feet in transferring out many inmates that have been cleared for release (like Dhiab).

"He started talking to the brothers."

"Initially, he did carry out his orders and participate in the tube feedings. But when he came, as soon as he saw what was happening, he started talking to the brothers," Dhiab is quoted as saying. "Once he saw with his own eyes that what he was told was contrary to what was actually taking place here, he decided he could not do it anymore." The Pentagon has confirmed the nurse's refusal to feed Guantanamo inmates against their will, though Washington isn't publicly identifying him. He has since been reassigned to "alternative duties" and is unlikely to face any punishment since his objection was directly tied to medical ethics.

Despite widespread cries that the act of force feeding inmates is unethical, the US military maintains that it's a humane tactic which has proven necessary to keep hunger strike participants alive. The feedings, which usually occur twice daily, see inmates forced into a restraint chair where a tube is inserted up the nose before traveling down the back of the throat and ultimately into the stomach. Dhiab has filed a federal lawsuit in protest of the policy. His attorneys claim the government has videotaped a large number of forced-feeding sessions, evidence that they're determined to preserve and eventually use against Guantanamo.