Conflict & Justice

Gitmo Hunger Striker Recounts Ordeal of Forced Feeding

More than 150 doctors and medical personal have published an open letter to President Barack Obama asking for permission to attend to the medical needs of more than 100 hunger strikers at the jail in Guantanamo Bay. The doctors are especially concerned about the 44 detainees who are being force fed.

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Algerian inmate Ahmed Belbacha is among those on hunger strike. He was arrested just months after the September 11th attacks in 2001. The US military cleared him for release in 2007, but no country will take him in, including Algeria. Like his fellow inmates, he cannot speak with reporters. But he offered his testimony to the BBC and it is read on our program by an actor.

"When they force feed us in Camp 6, they shackle our feet with metal chains and shackle our arms and hands to stomach with metal chains. Then they put us in a force feeding chair and tie us with belts," Belbacha says.

"Some of the newer medical staff they sent down, because there are so many strikers are afraid during feeding and it shows. I do not think I'm intimidating as I weigh at most 120 pounds now," he added. "Still when one of the new nurses, she was perhaps 40, started to feed me, I saw that her hands were shaking. I asked whether it was her first time ever to force feed someone. 'Yes it is,' she responded."