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Judge rejects changes to detainee’s force-feeding

November 9, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge has turned down a request from a Guantanamo Bay hunger striker to alter the way he is force-fed, including the daily practice of inserting and removing his feeding tube.

U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler on Friday ruled against Syrian prisoner Abu Wa’el Dhiab, who’s been held at Guantanamo without charge for 12 years and was cleared for release in 2009.

Last year, Dhiab joined a mass hunger strike to protest the conditions inside the prison and the delays in releasing many detainees who also have been cleared for release.

The judge described Dhiab as “sick, depressed and desperate,” but said he did not overcome legal hurdles to change the way he is fed.

Kessler denied Dhiab’s request to have the tube that runs through his nose and into his stomach left in place for at least three days. She also said his jailers may continue to use a certain chair to restrain him while he is being fed, even though he argued it significantly worsens his back pain. Kessler said prison officials had not demonstrated “deliberate indifference” in their treatment of Dhiab.

Jon Eisenberg, Dhiab’s lawyer, said Kessler’s error in evaluating Dhiab’s claim was “plain and startling.”

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