Obama Called Out to Stop Gitmo Force-Feeding

     WASHINGTON (CN) – A federal judge called out President Barack Obama as the person best suited to handle the issue of force-feeding detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
     Jihad Dhiab has been detained at the military prison in Cuba for 11 years, and his continued detention is indefinite even though he was cleared for release in 2009, according to the ruling.
     Many prisoners in similar positions have engaged in hunger strikes, but the government has been force-feeding these individuals to keep them from starving.
     Dhiab was one of four detainees who applied to enjoin forced feedings, noting that the holy month of Ramadan, during which observant Muslims fast from sunrise to sundown, begins this year on July 8.
     U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler reluctantly denied Dhiab’s application Monday.
     “The court feels just as constrained now, as it felt in 2009 [when faced with a similar request], to deny this petitioner’s application for lack of jurisdiction,” Kessler wrote. “The court also feels constrained, however, to note that petitioner has set out in great detail in his 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.
     Though the government has insisted that it gives detainees “timely, compassionate, quality healthcare,” Kessler found it “perfectly clear from the statements of detainees, as well as the statements from … [various organizations], that force-feeding is a painful, humiliating, and degrading process.”
     “Even though this court is obligated to dismiss the application for lack of jurisdiction, and therefore lacks any authority to rule on petitioner’s request, there is an individual who does have the authority to address the issue,” Kessler added. “In a speech on May 23, 2013, President Barack Obama stated ‘Look at the current situation, where we are force-feeding detainees who are holding a hunger strike. … Is that who we are? Is that something that our founders foresaw? Is that the America we want to leave to our children? Our sense of justice is stronger than that.’
     “Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution provides that ‘[t]he President shall be the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States…’ It would seem to follow, therefore, that the president of the United States, as commander-in-chief, has the authority – and power – to directly address the issue of force-feeding of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay.”

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