Guards at the infamous Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba are force-feeding inmates only after sunset and before sunrise during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a prison spokesman said.

Guards at the U.S.’ infamous Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba are force-feeding inmates only after sunset and before sunrise during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a prison spokesman said, prompting an outcry that this action represented continuing cruelty rather than religious empathy.

Navy Captain Robert Durand told the Miami Herald, “We understand that observing the daytime fast and taking nothing by mouth or vein is an essential component of Muslim observance of Ramadan... For those detainees on hunger strike we will ensure that our preservation of life through enteral feeding does not violate the tenets of their faith.”

“Enteral feeding” in Gitmo means guards “shackle a captive into a restraint chair... then a Navy nurse inserts a tube into the captive’s nose to deliver a nutritional supplement down the back of his throat and into his stomach”.

As per the most recent reports 106 of the 166 inmates were on hunger strike and 45 of them had been designated for “naso-gastric feeding”. Reports also say three inmates were in the prison’s hospital this week though none were said to have life threatening conditions.

Captain Durand was quoted saying that the Guantanamo Bay prison was sufficiently equipped to synchronise the force-feeding of inmates to the new schedule. This will be the 12th Ramadan in American captivity for most “War on Terror” detainees.

While the Obama administration has for years argued that it would press for closure of the prison, in January this year it shuttered the Prisoners’ Resettlement Office, despite 86 inmates being cleared for release.

This week prison officials said that those detainees not on hunger strike would have their meals scheduled accordingly, and they would comprise lamb, dates and honey and “zamzam water” from a well in Mecca.

The official commitment to the new schedule came after lawyers for inmates from Algeria, Syria and Saudi Arabia were said to have petitioned the courts to prohibit daytime tube-feedings during Ramadan.

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