WASHINGTON - In a letter Wednesday, U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (IL) and Dianne Feinstein (CA) called on President Obama to order military guards at the Guantanamo Bay prison to stop force feeding prisoners participating in a hunger strike. More than 100 of the 166 detainees are refusing to eat and 40 of them are reportedly being force fed.
“We…encourage you to direct the Department of Defense to stop conducting such large-scale force-feedings and, where force-feeding is medically necessary to save a detainee’s life, to observe the protections required at U.S. Bureau of Prisons facilities,”the senators wrote. “It is our understanding that the U.S. federal prison guidelines for force-feedings include several safeguards and oversight mechanisms that are not in place at Guantanamo Bay.
Durbin has been a leading proponent of shutting down the prison, hoping at one time to transfer the accused anti-American terrorists to an abandoned prison in western Illinois. The letter points out Durbin's opinion Guantanamo should be shuttered.
“The growing problem of hunger strikes is due to the fact that many detainees have remained in legal limbo for more than a decade and have given up hope. This should be alarming to all of us, and it is imperative that the Administration outline a formal process to permanently close the Guantanamo facility as soon as possible. We look forward to continue working with you to achieve that end.”
The letter is posted on Feinstein's website HERE.