At the same time, one of the judges U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler used her July 8 decision to denounce the practice she said she was powerless to stop.
It is perfectly clear . . . that force-feeding is a painful, humiliating and degrading process, Kessler wrote, adding that the detainees set out in great details in (their) papers what appears to be a consensus that force-feeding of prisoners violates Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which prohibits torture or cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.
Guantánamo detainees began a broad-based hunger strike in about March, protesting conditions that included intrusive searches and indefinite detention. At the hunger strikes peak earlier this year, U.S. military authorities declared that 106 of Guantánamos detainees were participating, with 46 designated for force-feeding. There are currently 164 detainees, and the number of those on a hunger strike has sharply fallen.
During force-feeding, the detainee is restrained while a two-foot long feeding tube is passed via the nasal passage into the stomach. The tube is secured to the nose with tape, and liquid nutrients are pumped in over a period of about 20 to 30 minutes.
The specific challenge considered Thursday is being pressed by three detainees, each of whom has been cleared for release but nonetheless remain confined.
Force-feeding is unethical, its inhumane (and) its a violation of international law, Oakland, Calif.-based attorney Jon B. Eisenberg, representing the detainees, told the court. He added that these are unlawful conditions of confinement, these are unlawful restraints . . . (but) the threshold question is, does this court have jurisdiction?