Anguished Judge Lets Gitmo Resume Forced Feedings

Gladys Kessler criticizes Pentagon but says she has no choice

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted May 23, 2014 6:34 PM CDT

(Newser) – A federal judge today allowed the US military to resume force-feeding a detainee at Guantanamo Bay, but Gladys Kessler made clear she is not happy about it, reports the McClatchy News Service. Kessler criticized the Pentagon for refusing to budge over how it administers the force-feeding and urged authorities to figure out a way to make it less painful for detainee Abu Wa’el Dhiab, reports the Washington Post. “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,” Kessler wrote. “However, the court simply cannot let Mr. Dhiab die.”

She described the decision as "anguishing." Last week, Kessler ordered a temporary halt to the force-feeding, but reversed herself when it became clear that Dhiab would not voluntarily eat. She noted that the detainee has said that he would agree to the tubal feeding if he could “be spared the agony of having the feeding tubes inserted and removed for each feeding," along with the "pain and discomfort of the restraint chair." She criticized the Pentagon for not compromising. Dhiab, 42, is a Syrian who has been held for 12 years without charges and has been cleared for release since 2009, notes the New York Times. His attorneys recently won the right to view videotapes of his forced feedings.

A file photo of US District Judge Gladys Kessler.
A file photo of US District Judge Gladys Kessler.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
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