A federal judge on Monday condemned the military’s practice of force-feeding detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as “painful, humiliating, and degrading” and said President Obama has the authority to stop it.
In a forceful four-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler dismissed a Syrian detainee’s request to end the force-feeding, saying she lacks jurisdiction to rule on conditions of confinement at the prison. But, Kessler wrote, “there is an individual who does have the authority to address the issue.”
Kessler quoted Obama’s national security speech from May, in which he was critical of the practice and promised to restart the process of transferring detainees out of the facility. As commander in chief, she wrote, “it would seem to follow” that the president “has the authority — and power — to directly address the issue of force-feeding of detainees at Guantanamo Bay.”
The opinion came in response to the detainee’s request for a preliminary injunction to halt the force-feeding, one of four such requests filed in federal court in Washington by prisoners who have been on a hunger strike since February.