Force-feeding of some among a group of 106 hunger-striking inmates by guards at the Guantanamo Bay prison came under a renewed barrage of fire from critics and human rights advocates this week after protest groups published a video “demonstration” of the procedure on a celebrity volunteer.
Earlier reports that prison guards would force-feed inmates only after sunset and before sunrise during Ramadan prompted protests, including by leaders of the American Muslim community, that it represented continuing cruelty rather than religious empathy.
On Monday, The Guardian newspaper carried a grim video clip of actor and hip-hop star Yasiin Bey, known by the stage name Mos Def, wearing the orange jumpsuit of Guantanamo inmates as he was strapped onto a chair, bound and held down by orderlies, and then nasogastrically fed.
With the video seeking to highlight the “cruel and unusual punishment” nature of what the U.S. military calls “entereal feeding”, its message was underscored by Muslim community leaders who reiterated their plea to President Barack Obama to reconsider the policy at least during Ramadan, from Monday onwards.
The Guardian quoted Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman of the a U.S. Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, the Council On American-Islamic Relations saying, “We believe it’s wrong to force feed at any time but it is particularly upsetting to do it through Ramadan.”
He added that the situation was “Kafkaesque”, and said that it was not just a religious but also a human rights issue.