Guantanamo Litigation: District Court

USG Opposition to Detainees' Motion for Preliminary Injunction to Stop GTMO Force-Feeding

By Wells Bennett
Wednesday, July 3, 2013, 8:50 PM

Earlier this week Ben posted on a motion, brought by a group of Guantanamo detainees and asking the District Court to preliminarily enjoin force-feeding at the detention facility.  The court ordered the United States to respond almost immediately, and earlier today, it timely filed its opposition brief.  The opposition also cites a redacted declaration by a senior GTMO medical official, which can be found here.   (The unredacted version was apparently filed under seal.)

The United States' opposition opens:

Respondents hereby oppose Petitioners motion for a preliminary injunction against enterally feeding, which seeks extraordinary judicial intervention that would stop Respondents from providing essential nutritional and medical care.  There is no legal basis for such relief  because this Court lacks jurisdiction over conditions-of-confinement and treatment claims, including the type of claims brought here to enjoin the administration of specific medical care.  Further, well-established legal authority supports Respondents’ policies of enteral feeding hunger-striking detainees to preserve their health and lives.
Petitioners also cannot establish irreparable injury, as Petitioners’ arguments in support of emergency relief are based on false and meritless factual allegations.  First, Petitioners incorrectly speculate that Respondents’ enteral feeding policies will interfere with their upcoming observance of Ramadan because they will not be able to fast from sunup to sundown.  Consistent with long-standing practice, however, absent any unforeseen emergency or operational issues, Joint Task Force-Guantanamo (“JTF-GTMO”) plans to feed all detainees, including detainees undergoing enteral feeding, before dawn and after sunset in order to accommodate their religious practices during Ramadan.  Second, Petitioners’ speculative allegation that they have been administered the drug Reglan is false. Reglan has never been administered to the four Petitioners.  Third, as explained more fully in the declaration of the JTFGTMO Senior Medical Officer (attached as Exhibit 1), JTF-GTMO has adopted appropriate clinical practices for hunger-striking detainees that follows the Bureau of Prisons’ model.  The protocols for providing care to hunger-striking detainees have been performed in a humane fashion, with concern for Petitioners’ well-being, and never in a manner designed to inflict pain or discomfort, or as punishment or retaliation.  All four Petitioners are in good health, they are not hospitalized, and they are receiving adequate nutrition. Accordingly, there is no legal or factual basis for the Court to enjoin Respondents from continuing to provide Petitioners with humane and appropriate medical care.  Petitioners’ motion should be denied.