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Court paper: Gitmo will keep force-feeding detainees during Ramadan

July 5, 2013 at 12:14 PM

WASHINGTON, July 5 (UPI) -- The U.S. government said in response to a lawsuit it will not stop force-feeding prisoners at the military facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, during Ramadan.

In court papers arguing against a petition filed by detainees, the United States said the feedings provide "essential nutrition and medical care" and don't interfere with the detainees fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, which begins Monday evening, CNN reported.

Navy Capt. Robert Durand, spokesman for the facility, said the feedings would be carried out in the early morning and late evening to help detainees comply with Ramadan restrictions.

In their lawsuit filed Sunday, detainees Shaker Aamer, Ahmed Belbacha, Nabil Hadjarab and Abu Wa'el Dhiab argued the feedings violate the Ramadan daily fast from dawn to sunset, CNN reported Wednesday.

Pentagon spokesman Todd Breasseale said the military has changed force-feeding times at Guantanamo during Ramadan for years, but doing so "is an accommodation, not a right."

Of the 166 prisoners held at Guantanamo, 106 are on hunger strike, Breasseale said.

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