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Judge: I can’t stop Gitmo force-feeding of terrorists during Ramaddan -- but Obama can!

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07/09/2013 08:41 PM
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Judge: I can’t stop Gitmo force-feeding of terrorists during Ramaddan -- but Obama can!

A federal judge voiced sympathy Monday for Guantanamo Bay detainees but said she was powerless to stop force-feeding by U.S. authorities.

Ruling just before Ramadan, the monthlong holiday when pious Muslims fast during the day, Senior U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler said she lacked the legal jurisdiction to stop the force-feeding program challenged by four detainees. At the same time, Kessler all but urged President Barack Obama to take action as she underscored the unpleasant feeding regime that’s being meted out to detainees who’ve gone on hunger strikes.

“It is perfectly clear . . . that forced-feeding is a painful, humiliating and degrading process,” Kessler wrote.

Kessler also quoted Obama’s own criticism of force-feeding from a speech May 23.

"Look at the current situation, where we are force-feeding detainees who are holding a hunger strike,” the president said in the excerpt Kessler quoted. “Is that who we are? Is that something that our founders foresaw? Is that the America we want to leave to our children? Our sense of justice is stronger than that.”

The 75-year-old Kessler, whom President Bill Clinton appointed to the federal bench in 1994, said Congress essentially had tied her hands. Even if she wanted to act, she couldn’t.

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