On Monday, federal judge Gladys Kessler ruled that she cannot stop the force-feeding of hunger-striking prisoners at Guantanamo Bay because her court does not have jurisdiction to change policy at the prison near the southeastern corner of Cuba.
Currently, approximately 106 of Guantanamo’s 166 detainees are classified as hunger-strikers (reportedly defined as intentionally missing 9 meals in a row), with about 45 of them currently being force-fed.
Judge Kessler went on to say that there “appears to be a consensus that force-feeding prisoners violates Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which prohibits torture or cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment.” She notes the prisoners’ citations of statements from multiple U.S. and international organizations “condemning the force-feeding of detainees.”
The judge helpfully points out that “there is an individual who does have the authority to address the issue,” namely President Barack Obama, and proceeds to subtly chastise the president for hypocrisy by using his own words (from his May 23 speech in which, as usual, he spoke far too long in order to accomplish little but sow confusion among our allies and enemies alike):
Look at the current situation, where we are force-feeding detainees who are being held on a hunger strike... Is this who we are? Is that something our founders foresaw? Is that the America we want to leave our children? Our sense of justice is stronger than that.
Less than a month earlier, Obama said, “I don’t want these [hunger-strikers] to die.” Obama’s two statements are not so much mutually contradictory as representative of his deep desire to close the prison.
Please read the entirety of my article for the American Spectator here:
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