Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who chairs the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, on Wednesday called on the U.S. government to end the practice of force-feeding detainees who have been on hunger-strike at the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The California Democrat, who visited the prison with Sen. John McCain (R-CA) and White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough earlier this month, urged Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to end the practice not of medical necessity but because it contradicted international norms and America's own prison practices.
"Hunger strikes are a long known form of non-violent protest aimed at bringing attention to a cause, rather than an attempt at suicide," she wrote in a letter. "I believe that the current approach raises very important ethical questions and complicates the difficult situation regarding the continued indefinite detention at Guantanamo. I urge you to re-evaluate the force-feeding policies at Guantanamo Bay and put in place the most humane policies possible."
At last count, 104 of the 166 prisoners at Guantanamo are on hunger strike, with more than 40 being force-fed by guards stationed there. President Barack Obama reiterated his effort to close the facility in a speech on Wednesday.
"Even as we remain vigilant about the threat of terrorism, we must move beyond the mindset of perpetual war and in America that means redoubling our efforts to close the prison at Guantanamo," he said in front of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate.
Read Feinstein's letter in full below:
Feinstein Letter To Hagel