Document reveals that U.S. military knows force-feeding Gitmo detainees violates medical ethics

Photo: Jason Leopold.

Photo: Jason Leopold.

VICE News FOIA'd the first disclosure by the US government that force-feeding war-on-terror detainees who are capable of making informed decisions about their own health is a violation of medical ethics and international law.

Jason Leopold writes:

The June 21, 2013 "Legal Authority and Policy for Enteral Feeding at JTF-GTMO" (Joint Task Force-Guantanamo) was prepared by a military lawyer in the midst of a mass hunger strike at the detention facility that involved more than 100 detainees. Its stated goal was to "provide information regarding the legal authority and policy" surrounding force-feeding. The detainees, many of whom have been cleared for release or transfer, were engaging in hunger strikes to protest their indefinite detention.

"While enteral feeding is solidly supported under US federal law and policy, international law and certain medical ethical standards holds that the 'forced feeding' of a mentally competent person capable of making an informed decision is never acceptable," states the very last paragraph in the legal guidance prepared by United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), which has oversight of JTF-GTMO. The identity of the military lawyer who wrote it is redacted.

"The Military Admitted Force-Feeding Gitmo Detainees Violates International Law and Medical Ethics" [VICE News]