Take Action: Demand Good Medical Care For Guantánamo Detainees

“I do not wish to die, but I am prepared to run the risk that I may end up doing so, because I am
protesting the fact that I have been locked up for more than a decade, without a trial, subjected to
inhuman and degrading treatment and denied access to justice. I have no other way to get my message across. You know that the authorities have taken everything from me.”

So reads a letter written by 13 hunger strikers at Guantánamo Bay and published in the Guardian on May 30, requesting independent, civilian doctors. The strikers stated that they did not trust military doctors to provide adequate medical care, and accused them of putting their duty to their superiors above their duty to the patients.

Earlier this year, I reported that of the 166 prisoners still being held at the Guantánamo detention facility, 88 were on hunger strike to protest their open-ended detention. According to CNN, that number has now risen to 104, and 44 of the detainees have received “enteral feeding,” where a tube is inserted through the nose and down the throat to administer liquids.

150 Doctors Urge President Obama To Send Non-Military Doctors To Guantánamo

Responding to this letter, more than 150 doctors have signed an open letter to President Obama, urging him to allow Guantánamo detainees access to independent medical examinations and advice.

According to the authors of the letter, published in the Lancet:

It is clear that they do not trust their military doctors. They have very good reason for this, as you should know, from the current protocols of the Joint Task Force Guantanamo, which those doctors are ordered to follow. The orders they receive are ultimately your orders as their Commander-in-Chief.  Without trust, safe and acceptable medical care of mentally competent patients is impossible. Since the detainees do not trust their military doctors, they are unlikely to comply with current medical advice.

That makes it imperative for them to have access to independent medical examination and advice, as they ask, and as required by the UN and World Medical Association.

Remember, these are suspected enemy fighters who have not been charged with any crimes. The government says the detainees are too dangerous to transfer but cannot be tried, characterizing them as war prisoners under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force Act.

Geneva Conventions Prohibit Force-Feeding

Furthermore, as Harper’s pointed out, writing about Guantanamo detainees:

They are being force-fed despite the departure of the administration that instituted force-feeding, despite the current administration’s order to shut down Guantánamo, and despite its even more specific order requiring prisoners there to be treated within the bounds of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which—by every interpretation but that of the U.S. government—clearly forbids force-feeding.

The detainee protest began last year, with five to six detainees starting and stopping hunger strikes. But the number grew after lawyers for some of those held drew attention to conditions at the facility, Army Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale, a spokesman on detainee issues at the Pentagon, said earlier this year.

The open letter from the doctors came a day after the Obama adminstration was forced to identify 46 inmates at the military prison after the Miami Herald sued the federal government for the information.

The Obama administration first acknowledged that detainees were being held indefinitely in Guantanamo in 2010 but didn’t make their identities public until now.

Take Action Now

If you agree that these prisoners are being denied adequate medical care, please sign our petition asking President Obama to provide independent, non-military doctors to Guantánamo detainees.

The practice of force feeding at Guantanamo, and indeed at all U.S. prisons around the world, must end now.


Photo Credit: Truthout.org


Jim Ven
Jim Ven1 years ago

thanks for the article.

Fran away F.

THIS PETITION IS CLOSED ~ As of June 19. Too bad. I check out C2 petitions carefully, but never saw this one.

Island Girl
J. J.4 years ago


federico bortoletto
federico b4 years ago


Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown4 years ago

Suze Q. said - "Prisoners at Guantanimo, who cares!"

Um, any decent American who gives a damn about justice, due process, and the rule of law.

Suze Q.
Suze Q4 years ago

Prisoners at Guantanimo, who cares!

Diane L.
Diane L4 years ago

My, My, Eleonora. That little tirade was entirely uncalled for. You accuse ME of "aggressiveness" and then you go off in a tantrum because your remarks are refuted or disagreed with......that's not very mature. Yes, you've been quite judgmental and "intellectual dishonesty"? How's that? I've stated exactly what I believe and based on my own life and experiences, as well as actual knowledge of history and facts. How is that "dishonest"? I didn't come into this discussion to just argue and nitpick everything you or anyone else has stated. You can hardly say the same. You and another member have chosen to go way off topic, yet attack me for mentioning reasons why my son, who is a war vet might have an opinion "other than" on this topic, practically called me a liar for what I have lived thru and more, saying my comments are "off topic"? That's pretty hypocritical.

You might actually take a few moments to read C2's "Code of Conduct" which clearly states that differences of opinion are welcomed and encouraged. The only "disclaimer" is that they be stated with respect to others. You've veered way off that mark now.

Eleonora Oldani
Eleonora Oldani4 years ago

To Diane – This cut cut off:

What your practicing here is simply intellectual dishonesty and not worth my time.

That’s all and that’s it for me.

Eleonora Oldani
Eleonora Oldani4 years ago

To Diane – You seem to be having a serious problem within yourself.

I didn’t dish out to you any “judgmental nonsense”, nor was I impolite nor did I question or criticize you. I simply was surprised that you are unaware of a widely known American organization working tirelessly for peace. Given your various comments I have read over some time I was astonished and voiced it.

You don’t seem to be able (or are unwilling) to hold a true discussion. You like to touch on an issue if it serves your purpose and is convenient to seemingly help defend your position. If one then dares to follow up on your point(s) you “bark” back – but naturally only if you don’t like the point made - that it’s either off topic or not worth to discuss or that you’re annoyed or whatever else may come to your … mind … and launch ad hominem assaults. You even have the audacity in your last posting to question my integrity. Others may call your behavior a childish temper tantrum. Pick your pick.

Now this is truly a judgment which I pass very confidently based on the evidence of your postings: You are a very self-centered person who has not yet realized that behind your limited horizon there’s a whole big world out there with true sufferings, traumata and grievances. A little bit more than an MP knocking at your door because he saw some light through the blackouts.

What your practicing here is simply intellectual dishonesty a

Diane L.
Diane L4 years ago

No, Eleonora, not "aggressive" at all. I AM, however, rather annoyed at the constant judgmental nonsense from both you and Sheila because I have a different P.O.V. on the subject and it seems from her, because I have the unfortunate "luck" of being an American and therefore, never subjected to being part of a war "zone". You criticized or questioned me because I never heard of some protest group (even though I am a woman?). Now you're suggesting that where I live was never in any real danger of invasion by the Japanese? How old are you, really? How would you know if there was ever any REAL danger here? I was a child at the time, and had no clue what was going on except what I saw and was exposed to and it was scarey. Now, as a person who can "visit" the remains of those times, it seems very apparent that the scare was definitely there. Maybe, THANKS to the precautions taken, Japanese submarines would never have made it thru the Strait of Juan de Fuca, but without those precautions, we'd never know, would we? So what if the Japanese never attacked the mainland of the U.S.? They definitely attacked part of it (Pearl Harbor) and certainly had the capability of going farther than that if not prevented from doing so, which was their intention as the entire world clearly understood.

And yes, the last part of my comment was to Sheila. That should have been obvious since I addressed it to her by name :)