Described as the first known instance of rebellion against Guantánamo Bay’s enteral force-feeding policy, a Navy nurse refused to continue force-feeding hunger-striking prisoners.
The incident was revealed after Guantánamo prisoner Abu Wael Dhiab called his lawyer, Cori Crider of British legal defense group Reprieve, to inform her that a male nurse had suddenly refused to continue force-feeding him and other inmates earlier this month, sometime before the Fourth Of July. Dhiab said that the nurse declared, “I have come to the decision that I refuse to participate in this criminal act.”
Dhiab also said he was informed by the nurse “before we came here, we were told a different story. The story we were told was completely the opposite of what I saw.” The identity of the nurse is unknown at this time, but Dhiab described him as a Latino around 40 years of age.
Crider applauded the rebellion of the nurse: “This is a historic stand by this nurse, who recognized the basic humanity of the detainees and the inhumanity of what he was being asked to do. He should be commended. He should also be permitted to continue to give medical care to prisoners on the base but exempted from a practice he rightly sees as a violation of medical ethics.”
Navy Capt. Tom Gresback confirmed the incident but offered no additional details. “There was a recent instance of a medical provider not willing to carry out the enteral feeding of a detainee,” he stated. “The matter is in the hands of the individual’s leadership.”
Dhiab is currently in a federal court battle to end forced tube-feeding. He was arrested without charges in Pakistan and turned over to US authorities in 2002 before his imprisonment at Guantánamo. He was cleared to be released in 2009, but instead has been remained in the facility for nearly 13 years.