WASHINGTON: A US Navy nurse has refused to take part in force-feeding Guantanamo inmates on hunger strike, the first time a medical officer has openly objected to the practice, the Pentagon said yesterday.
The male nurse, whose name has not been disclosed, was part of a medical team at the US-run prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba that feeds detainees by inserting a tube up their nose, down the throat and into the stomach.
“This nurse did not want to take part in the enteral feeding and has since been assigned to other duties,” spokesman Colonel Steven Warren told reporters.
Asked if the nurse would be disciplined for his protest, Warren said the case was under review.
“This matter is being handled administratively by the chain of command,” he said.
Pentagon officials said another medical officer previously had declined to participate in an unspecified procedure but that case did not involve tube feedings.
A defence lawyer representing some of the detainees hailed the nurse as a hero and said it was the first instance of a medical officer rebelling against force-feeding since inmates began a hunger strike last year.
“This is a historic stand by this nurse, who recognised the basic humanity of the detainees and the inhumanity of what he was being asked to do,” lawyer Cori Crider said in a statement from the British legal defence group Reprieve.