In a letter sent to President Obama on Wednesday, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Dick Durbin said: We write to urge you to use your Presidential authority to end the unnecessary force-feedings of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.
Earlier this week, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Gladys Kessler also expressed concern about the force-feeding of Guantanamo Bay detainees. The Court denied detainee Jihad Dhiab’s motion for a preliminary injunction to stop force-feeding due to lack of jurisdiction, but in her order, Judge Kessler noted that Dhiab has set out in great detail in his court filings “what appears to be a consensus that force-feeding of prisoners violates Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which prohibits torture or cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment.” The United States has ratified the ICCPR and is obligated to comply with its provisions. Judge Kessler also wrote, “it is perfectly clear from the statements of detainees, as well as the statements from the [medical] organizations just cited, that force-feeding is a painful, humiliating, and degrading process.” (emphasis added).
The judge concluded by correctly pointing out that you, as Commander in Chief, have the authority to intercede on behalf of Dhiab, and other similarly-situated detainees at Guantanamo. The court wrote: “Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution provides that ‘[t]he President shall be the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States. …’ It would seem to follow, therefore, that the President of the United States, as Commander-in-Chief, has the authority—and power—to directly address the issue of force-feeding of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay.”
Furthermore, on May 23, 2013, in your national security speech at the National Defense University you raised the issue of force-feeding and asked “Is this who we are? Is that something our Founders foresaw? Is that the America we want to leave our children?” (emphasis added). We don’t believe it is. And we agree with your comment in the speech that “[o]ur sense of justice is stronger than that.” [Continue reading…]