MIAMI A leading US advocacy group has joined calls to the federal court to end forced-feeding practices for Muslim detainees at the infamous American Guantanamo detention center in Cuba.
We've asked for the forced-feeding to be stopped in any case, Ibrahim Hooper, the national director of communications at the council, told CNN on Tuesday, July 2.
It sends a very negative message to the Muslim world.
Hooper's calls to end forced-feeding practices at Guantanamo bay detention camp followed earlier calls by detainees' lawyers to end the practice.
The lawyers asked for speedy hearing for the complaints made by Shaker Aamer, Ahmed Belbacha, Nabil Hadjarab and Abu Wa'el Dhiab.
According to the lawsuit, Aamer is a Saudi national and British citizen cleared by the Obama administration for release in 2009.
Belbacha and Hadjarab, who are Algerian citizens, were first cleared for release in 2007 during the Bush administration and reauthorized for release by the Obama administration in 2009.
Dhiab is also a Syrian national cleared for release in 2009.
In the lawsuit filed, prisoners argue that the military's practice of using a nasogastric tube to involuntarily feed striking prisoners with a liquid nutrient mix is inhumane and violates medical ethics.
They also say it will prevent them from observing the traditional fast during the upcoming Muslim holy period of Ramadan, depriving them of the right to practice their religion as guaranteed by the Geneva Conventions.
Lawyers noted that the complaint hearing should be scheduled before the Muslims' holy fasting month of Ramadan which begins on the evening of July 8 according to astronomical calculations.
The timing is urgent because Muslims who observe Ramadan fast daily from dawn to sunset.
Ramadan is the holiest month in Islamic calendar.
According to astronomical calculations, the holy fasting month of Ramadan will start on Tuesday, July 9.
In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.
US forces at the infamous detention center refused to comment on the Muslim prisoners' request.
It would be "inappropriate to comment on that current litigation at this time," Navy Capt. Robert Durand of the Joint Task Force Guantanamo said
"We essentially invert our schedule to accommodate these religious practices, including involuntary feeding."
The Guantanamo Bay was opened in early 2002 as part of the George W. Bush administration's so-called war on terror, waged shortly after the 9/11 attacks.
The camp is notorious for rights abuses and torture, with many prisoners over the years have committed suicide and gone on extensive hunger strikes.
The detention facility has been widely condemned around the world as a stain on America's human rights record.
Amnesty International once described Guantanamo as a "symbol of abuse and represents a system of detention that is betraying the best US values and undermines international standards."
The international rights watchdog also likened it to gulag prisons, the Soviet detention centers notorious for torturing political prisoners and suspects.