Navy Nurse at Gitmo Turns Conscientious Objector

He refuses to force-feed detainees

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 16, 2014 9:19 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Navy nurse working at Guantanamo Bay has refused to force-feed hunger-striking detainees, an inmate's lawyer tells CNN. The male nurse, whose name hasn't been revealed, at first conducted the feedings, but "as soon as he saw what was happening, he started talking to the [inmates]," attorney Cori Crider says. "Once he saw with his own eyes that what he was told (by superiors) was contrary to what was actually taking place here, he decided he could not do it anymore." The Pentagon yesterday acknowledged that a "medical provider" had recently refused to perform a feeding, and said the staffer "has been temporarily assigned to alternate duties with no impact to medical support operations."

Crider learned about the nurse's decision through her client, Abu Wa'el Dhiab, who has sued against the force-feeding policy. "This nurse showed incredible courage. To see the basic humanity of the prisoners and to recognize that force-feeding is wrong is a historic stand," Crider says. "It meant a great deal to my client and to the other cleared detainees who are hunger striking." The Miami Herald calls the nurse's move "the first known rebellion against" force-feeding rules. A retired Army brigadier general tells the paper that such a refusal on ethical grounds is allowed, and the nurse shouldn't suffer professional consequences.

In this Aug. 23, 2013 pool file photo reviewed by the US Department of Defense, one of Guantanamo Bay's two courthouses is seen through a broken window.
In this Aug. 23, 2013 pool file photo reviewed by the US Department of Defense, one of Guantanamo Bay's two courthouses is seen through a broken window.   (AP Photo/Toronto Star, Michelle Shephard, Pool, File)
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