Doctors accuse US of 'unethical practices' at Guantanamo Bay
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Independent (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
Posted: September 14th, 2007
More than 260 doctors from around the world have launched an unprecedented attack on the American medical establishment for its failure to condemn unethical practices by medical practitioners at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba. In a letter to The Lancet, the doctors from 16 countries, including Britain and America, say the failure of the US regulatory authorities to act is "damaging the reputation of US military medicine". They compare the actions of the military doctors, whom they accuse of being involved in the force-feeding of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and of turning a blind eye to evidence of torture in Iraq and elsewhere, to those of the South African security police involved in the death of the anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko 30 years ago. The group highlighted the force-feeding of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay last year and suggested the physicians involved should be referred to their professional bodies for breaching internationally accepted ethical guidelines. The doctors wrote: "No healthcare worker in the War on Terror has been charged or convicted of any significant offence despite numerous instances documented including fraudulent record-keeping on detainees who have died as a result of failed interrogations ... The attitude of the US military establishment appears to be one of 'See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil'." The US introduced the policy of force-feeding, in which prisoners are strapped to a chair and a tube is forced down the throat into the stomach, after more than 100 prisoners went on hunger strike in 2005. "Fundamental to doctors' responsibilities in attending a hunger striker is the recognition that prisoners have a right to refuse treatment," the doctors wrote.