Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Court Says It Lacks Jurisdiction To Stop Gitmo Force Feeding As Ramadan Nears, But President Could End Practice

In Dhiab v. Obama, (D DC, July 8, 2013), a D.C. federal district court denied for lack of jurisdiction a Guantanamo Bay detainee's petition (see prior posting) seeking to enjoin the government from continuing to force feed him, especially during the Ramadan fast period.  However, in denying the preliminary injunction, District Judge Gladys Kessler said:
Even though this Court is obligated to dismiss the Application for lack of jurisdiction, and therefore lacks any authority to rule on Petitioner's request, there is an individual who does have the authority to address the issue. In a speech on May 23, 2013, President Barack Obama stated "Look at the current situation, where we are force-feeding detainees who are holding a hunger strike. . . 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."... 
Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution provides that "[t]he President shall be the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States ... " It would seem to follow, therefore, that the President of the United States, as Commander-in-Chief, has the authority-- and power-- to directly address the issue of force-feeding of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
AP reports on the decision.