Barack Obama urged to halt Ramadan force-feeding at Guantanamo Bay

Lawyers for four inmates have also filed petitions with the US government to stop this procedure during the religious festival

Islamic community leaders are asking Barack Obama to stop the practice of force-feeding Muslim detainees at Guantanamo Bay who are on hunger strike during Ramadan.

The religious festival, which began on Tuesday, is marked by fasting during daylight hours in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.

Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations CAIR, described the practice of force-feeding as “in violation of international norms and medical ethics.” Speaking to the Guardian, he said: “We believe it's wrong to force-feed at any time but it is particularly upsetting to do it through Ramadan.”

Dr Azzam Tamimi, an Islamic community leader in Britain, said this practice was becoming “increasingly embarrassing for the US government”. He added: “It's about time President Obama took a brave decision to end this in a way that would be appreciated around the Islamic world.”

The issue is being challenged by lawyers representing four Guantanamo inmates, who say that force-feeding is both “inhumane” as a practice and would be even more distressing during Ramadan.

They argue that the procedure is “painful, inhumane, degrading, and a violation of medical ethics” for the prisoners and that “night-time only force-feeding seems problematic at best and possibly even dangerous to the detainees health”.

The lawyers filed a joint legal challenge with the District of Columbia federal court on 4 July, arguing that Guantanamo Bay will become a "force-feeding factory" after the government said they would try to respect the daylight fast by only force-feeding prisoners on hunger strike during the night.

In the petition, the lawyers highlight the 30 minutes it takes to force-feed a prisoner, plus the two-hours the men can be required to remain in a restraint chair for to ensure nutrients reach the stomach. The prisoner will also have to spend time in a ‘dry-cell’ after this process is finished to ensure they do not vomit or attempt to vomit.

"Force-feeding all 45 detainees during the night would leave just ten hours and 44 minutes for respondents to implement two force-feedings for up to an hour of feeding time," the petition continues, "and four hours of total observation time, which could require dozens of restraint chairs and hundreds of staff.”

In a bid to highlight the controversy surrounding the use of force-feeding, human rights charity Reprieve joined forces with director Asif Kapadia to reconstruct the force-feeding on rapper Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) as specified by instructions followed in Guantanamo and leaked to Al-Jazeera.

A spokesperson for Reprieve said that the men in Guantanamo, some of whom have been cleared for release for many years, are choosing to hunger strike to show their "desperation" at being detained "beyond the rule of the law".

The spokesperson said: “Worryingly, it appears that the Obama administration is prepared to force-feed Guantanamo prisoners during Ramadan in a desperate attempt to break the hunger-strike. 

“There is a clear route open to President Obama in order to end this strike and help restore America’s reputation around the world: start freeing those prisoners who have been cleared for release by his own Government.  He could direct his Defence Secretary to do so tomorrow if he chose – the only conclusion is that he lacks the political courage to do so.”

News
people Biographer says cinema’s enduring sex symbol led a secret troubled life
News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people

Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again

News
In 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a 'dwarf planet'
scienceBut will it be reinstated?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people
News
Researchers say a diet of fatty foods could impede smell abilities
scienceMeasuring the sense may predict a person's lifespan
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
News
Gillian Anderson was paid less than her male co-star David Duchovny for three years while she was in the The X-Files until she protested and was given the same salary
people

Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood

Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Life and Style
fashionThe Secret Angels all take home huge sums - but who earns the most?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

KS1 and KS2 Primary NQT Job in Lancaster Area

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education is urgently...

DT Teacher - Resistant Materials

£33000 - £34000 per annum: Randstad Education Group: Technology Teacher (Resis...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission, 1st yr OTE £30-£40k : SThree:...

Middleware Support Analyst

£45000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?