October 18, 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Anti-torture activists will hold a nasal-tube feeding of a long term-faster to dramatize the abusive force-feeding of hunger strikers at Guantánamo and to protest indefinite detention at the prison. The feeding will take place at 11 am, following consideration by a federal appeals court of a lawsuit arguing that force-feeding at Guantánamo is a violation of human rights and religious liberties.
Andrés Thomas Conteris — on day 103 of a water-only fast — will undergo the nasal tube feeding. “Forced-feeding is torture,” says Conteris, who has lost 57 pounds. “I wish to make visible what the U.S. government is perpetrating against prisoners in Guantánamo and to remind the world that indefinite detention continues.” Conteris, age 52, has held nasogastric feedings at the White House, in Oakland,California, and at US embassies in Uruguay and Argentina. “The nasal tube feeding feels like endless agony,” says Conteris. “It feels like I’m drowning.” Beginning last February, more than 100 men at Guantánamo engaged in a hunger strike to protest their indefinite detention. To try to break the protest, the US military subjected dozens of the hunger strikers to nasogastric force-feeding. “The case before the appeals court goes to the heart of the evil of Guantánamo,” says Witness Against Torture organizer Jeremy Varon, “as it argues that the purpose of force-feeding is to sustain an illegal and immoral policy of indefinite detention.” Sixteen men remain on hunger strike at Guantánamo, all force-fed. Senators Dianne Feinstein and John McCain, the American Medical Association, and the United Nations have all denounced force-feeding. Prompted by the hunger strike at Guantánamo, President Obama on May 23, 2013 renewed his pledge to close the prison. Since that time, only two prisoners have been freed.