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Testimonies of Forced Feeding

Emergency Restraint Chairs

 

 

Emergency Restraint Chair
Photo: E.R.C. Inc.


There is testimony from military physicians regarding the involuntary and physically restrained feeding of Guantánamo prisoners. This testimony comes from the following sources:


The use of "restraint chairs" in the forced feeding of prisoners was first reported in The New York Times (see here). Subsequently it was confirmed by General Bantz Craddock, former commander of Guantánamo, and by Lt. Col. James Marshall, spokesman for the Southern Command (see here). Twenty five chairs like the one illustrated above were shipped to Guantánamo in December 2005 and January 2006. Restraint chairs began to be used systematically in Guantánamo in January 2006; they were still in use in August 2007 (see here). Other testimony of forced feeding (punitive and with physical restraints) can be found here and here. Standard Operating Procedures for force-feeding hunger striking prisoners in Guantánamo can be found here. On April 5, 2009, National Geographic aired footage of a prisoner being strapped at a "restraint chair".

 

It should be noted that physicians worldwide have reached a consensus regarding involuntary and physically restrained feeding of prisoners. Part of this consensus are:

  • Article 6 of The 1975 Tokyo Declaration of the World Medical Association: "Where a prisoner refuses nourishment and is considered by the physician as capable of forming an unimpaired and rational judgment concerning the consequences of such a voluntary refusal of nourishment, he or she shall not be fed artificially."

 

Citing the Tokyo Declaration, the American Medical Association stated in 2013 that "the forced feeding of detainees violates core ethical values of the medical profession."

According to Guantánamo spokesman Navy Commander Rick Haupt, an undisclosed number of Guantánamo physicians have declined to participate in the forced-feeding of prisoners.


 

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