Navy Nurse Refuses to Force-Feed Guantánamo Prisoner

Friday, July 18, 2014
Guantanamo force-feeding chair (photo: Charles Dharapak, AP)

A U.S. Navy nurse has become the first member of the military to refuse to participate in the controversial force-feeding of detainees at Guantánamo.


American officials confirmed the incident took place before the July 4 holiday, prompting the removal of the male nurse from the forced-feeding area. The military would not disclose his identity, and only added that he was reassigned to other duties.


The Miami Herald reported that the refusal was leaked by a detainee, Abu Wael Dhiab, while communicating with his attorney, Cori Crider.


The nurse may be in his forties, Latino, holding the rank of either lieutenant or captain. He was quoted as having announced, “I have come to the decision that I refuse to participate in this criminal act.”


Medical professionals outside the service have criticized the Obama administration’s policy of making protesting detainees ingest fluids for the past 18 months.


The administration has also refused to reveal how many of Guantánamo’s 149 detainees are on a hunger strike.


Dhiab was authorized for release four years ago. But the U.S. refuses to let the Syrian return to his war-torn homeland. He has since been a participant in the hunger strikes, and is challenging the force-feeding policy in federal court.


Uruguay has agreed to accept six detainees, including Dhiab. But the Pentagon has yet to approve the plan.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Navy Nurse Refuses to Force-Feed Guantánamo Captive (by Carol Rosenberg, Miami Herald)

Abu Wa'el Dhiab (Reprieve)

Court Rules Judges May Oversee Prison Conditions at Guantánamo, Opening Door to Detainee Lawsuits (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Guantánamo Hunger Strikers Ask for End of Force Feeding during Ramadan (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)


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