[Ppnews] 153 doctors denounce Guantanamo medical treatment in letter to Obama

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jun 18 19:44:41 EDT 2013

*153 doctors denounce Guantanamo medical treatment in letter to Obama*

*Wednesday 19 June*

In an open letter published today in The Lancet medical journal, 153 
doctors have called on President Obama to respond to a request from 
hunger-striking detainees asking for independent medical assistance in 
Guantanamo Bay.

Detainees recently wrote a letter from 13 hunger strikers to their 
military doctors, in which they pleaded for access to independent 
medical advice and examination, saying that it was impossible for them 
to trust military doctors who are engaged in degrading and painful 

Responding to the detainees' letter, the doctors write in The Lancet 
that, "Without trust, safe and acceptable medical care of mentally 
competent patients is impossible. Since [the detainees on hunger strike] 
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... We endorse their 
request, and are prepared to visit them under appropriate conditions, to 
assist in their recovery and release."

The hunger strike at the prison is now entering its fifth month, with 
the majority of the detainees taking part in protest at their indefinite 
detention. Up to 43 men are being force-fed, with growing numbers of 
medical professionals expressing concerns in recent weeks that strikers 
are not receiving an adequate, or humane, standard of medical care while 
being treated by military physicians. Meanwhile, concerns are growing 
that detainees are being force-fed Reglan, a potent drug that can cause 
serious neurological disorders.

*Cori Crider, Reprieve's Strategic Director and Guantanamo attorney*, 
said: "The doctors in Guantanamo are being asked to do terrible things 
by the US military -- things which may haunt them for the rest of their 
lives. Shaker Aamer and Nabil Hadjarab can't trust their doctors because 
of what they've been co-opted into. We're very grateful that independent 
doctors have stepped forward to help, but fundamentally Barack Obama 
needs to realise that this is the greatest crisis in Guantanamo of his 
presidency and start treating it as such. The men who have been cleared 
for release must go home to their families at once."


Notes to Editors

1. For further information please contact Clemency Wells in Reprieve's 
press office, on: +44 (0) 207 553 8161 / clemency.wells at reprieve.org.uk 
<mailto:clemency.wells at reprieve.org.uk>

2. For full Correspondence, see: 

3. For linked /Lancet /World Report, see: 

4. The doctors' letter was initiated by Medact, a charity that defends 
human rights to health and healthcare.

5. The letter from the 13 detainees to their military doctors can be 
found here: 

6. For further information on the use of Reglan in force-feeding see: 

7. Reprieve 
a legal action charity, uses the law to enforce the human rights of 
prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay. Reprieve investigates, 
litigates and educates, working on the frontline, to provide legal 
support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves. Reprieve promotes 
the rule of law around the world, securing each person's right to a fair 
trial and saving lives. Clive Stafford Smith is the founder of Reprieve 
and has spent 25 years working on behalf of people facing the death 
penalty in the USA.
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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