Over 260 doctors call for ban on force-feeding and restraint chairs at Guantanamo

EMBARGO: 00:01H (London time) Friday March 10, 2006. In North America the 18:30H ET Thursday March 9, 2006.

263 doctors from 7 different countries (UK, USA, Ireland, Germany, Australia, Italy & the Netherlands) are calling for the US government to abandon forcefeeding and the use of restraint chairs in accordance with internationally agreed standards in this week's issue of The Lancet.

The World Medical Association specifically prohibits forcefeeding in the Declarations of Tokyo and Malta, to which the American Medical Association is a signatory. Physicians attending hunger strikers have a responsibility to respect prisoners' informed decision, even if they disagree. Those breaching the guidelines should be held to account by their professional bodies, state David Nicholl (City Hospital, Birmingham, UK) and colleagues in their correspondence letter.

Dr Nicholl concludes: "We urge the US government to ensure that detainees are assessed by independent physicians and that techniques such as forcefeeding and restraint chairs are abandoned forthwith in accordance with internationally agreed standards."

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To contact the lead author, Dr David J Nicholl, Department of Neurology, City Hospital, Birmingham, B18 7QH, UK. T +44 (0)121 507 4588 or mobile phone +44 7831 877 622 david.nicholl@blueyonder.co.uk

For USA contacts, eg Dr Holly Atkinson and Dr Ronald Cranford, reporters can call Barbara Ayotte, Physicians for Human Rights, 617.301.4210, bayotte@phrusa.org


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