US defends force-feeding of Guantanamo prisoners

MIAMI (AP) — The U.S. government is defending the force-feeding of prisoners on hunger strike at Guantanamo.

Justice Department lawyers argue in court papers that the method used to feed prisoners is humane and intended to keep them from starving to death from the ongoing protest. They deny that medical personnel use the feeding process to inflict pain or as punishment.

Their defense comes in a court filing Wednesday responding to a legal challenge filed Sunday by four hunger-striking prisoners. The Justice Department says all four are in good health.

Lawyers for the prisoners say the hunger strike began in February as a protest of their indefinite confinement at the U.S. base in Cuba. The military says 106 of the 166 prisoners are on strike, with up to 45 being force-fed.

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