A Navy medical officer assigned to the detention center at Guantanamo Bay refused to force-feed detainees held at the facility and was reassigned, Carol Rosenberg reports in the Miami Herald.
“There was a recent instance of a medical provider not willing to carry-out the enteral feeding of a detainee. The matter is in the hands of the individual’s leadership,” a Pentagon spokesperson told Time. “The service member has been temporarily assigned to alternate duties with no impact to medical support operations.”
While having little impact on force feedings, the refusal of a male nurse to take part marks the first known case a military member conscientiously objected to the practice that has been ongoing for nearly two years, according to Rosenberg.
Medical professionals and human rights advocates have called force-feeding — which requires the insertion of a feeding tube through a detainee’s nose — a violation of medical ethics and personal liberty, according to Reuters.
At its height last year, more than 100 were participating in the protest of their continued detention, including more than 50 cleared for release but still being held. Since December however, the military stopped disclosing the number of detainees involved as it “served no operational purpose,” according to a spokesman speaking to AP.
In May, a judge temporarily halted the force feeding of a prisoner from Syria, before allowing the practice to resume in light of his deteriorating condition.
Reuters has more:
In a harshly worded, three-page order, Kessler said she faced a “Hobson’s choice” of either reissuing a halt to the practices, which risked Dhiab dying, or allow medical personnel to take action to keep him alive at the possible cost of “great pain and suffering.”
Speaking through his attorney, Dhiab told the Miami Herald the medical officer, who has not been named, refused sometime around July 4.
“Initially, he did carry out his orders and participate in the tube feedings,” attorney Cori Crider related to the Herald. “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.”
Dhiab told his attorney the nurse refused by saying, “I have come to the decision that I refuse to participate in this criminal act.”
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