U.S. Denies Feeding Tube Misuse at Gitmo

Well the way I see it is...
If the prisoners won't eat...well $#%& them...save money on feeding tubes...

By BEN FOX, Associated Press Writer
Thu Oct 20, 9:12 PM ET

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - The chief doctor at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay denied allegations by hunger striking prisoners that feeding tubes have been misused as a form of punishment, according to an affidavit released Thursday.

In a statement filed in federal court in Washington, Dr. John Edmondson said that only doctors or nurses are allowed to remove or insert feeding tubes and they use a lubricant and offer an anesthetic to the hunger striking prisoner to ease any pain.

The handling of the hunger striking prisoners "equals or exceeds the standard of care available at accredited hospitals in the United States," Edmondson, a Navy captain, said in the affidavit.

His statement was a response to affidavits filed with the court from defense lawyers, who said that prisoners held at the U.S. base in eastern Cuba alleged that troops force-fed them with dirty feeding tubes and violently inserted and withdrew the tubes as punishment.

Prisoners also said they were taunted by troops who said the treatment was intended to persuade them to end the hunger strike that began Aug. 9.

The affidavits were filed as part of a lawsuit by defense attorneys seeking more frequent access to their clients and copies of their medical records.

A military spokesman on Wednesday denied allegations of abuse but did not know specifics about the use of feeding tubes and treatment of striking detainees at the hospital.

Edmondson said that guards do not verbally or physically harass the detainees in the prison hospital. "Their presence in the detention hospital is solely to ensure the safety and security of both the detainees and medical staff," he said.

Guantanamo officials have said this latest hunger strike began with 76 detainees protesting their confinement. Defense lawyers have cited other reasons as well, including complaints about food and water, alleged abuse by guards and interrogators and their desire to either face trial or be released. About 25 are now on strike.

At Guantanamo Bay, the U.S. military holds about 500 detainees suspected of terrorist activities.

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