(WASHINGTON, DC, 7/1/13) â€“ The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today repeated its call to stop force-feeding hunger-striking prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, particularly during the upcoming month-long fast of Ramadan.
CAIR made that renewed request after attorneys for four hunger-striking Guantanamo prisoners filed a motion in federal court asking a judge stop their force-feedings and the administration of medications associated with the procedure.
The detainees are seeking an expedited hearing because the holy month of Ramadan, during which Muslims fast from break of dawn to sunset, is estimated to begin on July 9. Pentagon officials are now saying they will not force-feed the detainees during daylight hours.
In a statement, CAIR said:
“We urge Pentagon officials to end the cruel practice of force-feeding prisoners because it violates medical ethics and the international legal prohibition of cruel, humiliating and degrading treatment of detainees. The practice is always wrong, and is particularly offensive during Ramadan, the month of fasting. Cruelty is cruelty, whether it is inflicted during daylight or after sunset.”
Last month, CAIR joined a coalition of 19 other civil liberties and human rights groups and health professionals in sending an open letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel requesting an end to the practice of force-feeding hunger-striking prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
In its letter to Defense Secretary Hagel, the coalition reaffirmed that the process of force-feeding is fundamentally cruel, inhuman, degrading, and carries the risk of major infections, possible death, and psychological suffering.
The letter references the World Medical Association (WMA) Declaration of Malta on Hunger Strikers stating: “orcible feeding is never ethically acceptable. Even if intended to benefit, feeding accompanied by threats, coercion, force or use of physical restraints is a form of inhuman and degrading treatment.” The American Medical Association, a member of WMA, and the International Committee of the Red Cross have similar positions on forced-feeding.
CAIR also repeated its call for the closure of the Guantanamo detention center and an end to indefinite detention.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, email@example.com