ICE gets Greenlight to force hungry striker Hamad Mohsen Thabit Saad Sayad in Arizona immigration prison

One ICE detainees from Yemen being detained a privately run prison in Arizona was on a hunger-strike in nearly a month, skipped about 73 meals and lost almost 17% of his overall body weight as of Friday.

Authorities on Friday asked a judge to allow them to force-feed the 26-year-old man through a plastic tube up his nose and down his stomach — a practice the American Medical Association (American Medical Association) AMA) considered a form of torture.

In Federal court records first obtained by The Daily BeastThe US government asked a judge to authorize “involuntary nutrition administration” for Hamad Mohsen Thabit Saad Sayad through “nasogastric tube placement”, citing a payroll osteopathic physician ICE, who “considered that the drug limited medical soft [may be] necessary to prevent injury to both Mr Sayad and the medical staff. ”

On February 18th, a U.S. district court judge granted ICE’s requestruled that the Department of Homeland Security could begin raping Sayad and allow the agency to administer him if he resisted.

Sayad’s court-appointed attorney, Christopher Thomas, declined to comment for this story.

ACLU attorney Eunice Cho told The Daily Beast that oftentimes, secrecy is imposed against people who don’t have an attorney to help them through the process. The government allows “extremely coercive and unethical proceedings against people without due process, where the individual has really no way to protest what is happening before court.”

In their filing, government lawyers argued, “These measures are medically necessary [to] prevent further injury, dehydration, other and permanent damage up to and including death. ”

But, according to the World Medical Association, “Forced feeding is never morally acceptable. Even when intended for profit, feeding accompanied by threats, coercion, coercion or the use of physical restraints is a form of inhuman and degrading treatment. Equally unacceptable is the practice of forcing some detainees to feed in order to intimidate or coerce other hungerers to stop fasting.” The AMA says force-feeding, as a practice, goes against “the core ethical values ​​of the medical profession.” And in the face of widespread opposition to this practice, UN says ICE force-feeding may violate UN Convention Against Torture.

On Tuesday, Sayad won a partial victory in court. Although he is still unsteady from refusing to eat, and his body is currently consuming stored fat to sustain life, a CoreCivic doctor in a status update reviewed Sayad’s condition. “stable enough” because he was “drinking a small amount of water” and took a nutritional supplement on Sunday. Because he has become “virtually compliant”, Sayad will not be forced to eat – but will “accidentally” stay hydrated for at least the next 48 hours, with the use of restraints, if necessary. Doctors will continue to monitor Sayad, pending test results on Thursday, according to a status report filed in federal court.

CoreCivic did not respond to a request for comment. An ICE spokesman acknowledged The Daily Beast’s request for comment, but had not issued a statement at the time of publication.

Sayad, who tested positive for COVID last month, has been incarcerated at Arizona’s La Palma Correctional Center since December 16, 2020 and currently has a pending appeal with the Union. the Department of Justice’s Immigration Appeals Council, according to the filing. His health is rapidly declining and Sayad has been hospitalized twice since the start of the strike.

Before starting the forced-feeding regimen, ICE filings say the agency wanted to “conduct unintentional blood draws and weight checks, catheterize, and perform routine physicals” on Sayad and “limit [him] if he resists. Urinary catheterization involves inserting a tube into the urethra, and can cause “pain, bleeding, infection, and damage to surrounding structures, including vital organs,” according to the ACLU.

Forced urinary catheterization is illegal under international lawand in 2020 is was declared unconstitutional by a federal judge in South Dakota. Cho, who last year co-authored a report titled: “Behind Closed Doors: Abuse and Revenge of Famine Fighters in U.S. Immigrant Detention,” Called a hunger strike as a last resort for people who have exhausted all other options. Not yet, According to Doctor of Human RightsICE sometimes “doesn’t consider alternatives to force-feeding, including addressing hunger strikes’ basic requests for improved conditions.”

ICE has been trying to put in place different mechanisms for detainees to make complaints, Cho told The Daily Beast, calling current complaint procedures not just “changing clothes” but ultimately leading people to extreme measures as they wait for their immigration cases – generally civil, not criminal – to get through the system.

“People can very well await these proceedings, which can sometimes take months, if not years, for the safety of their own homes and communities,” Cho said. “And instead, people are being held in these conditions, where medical needs are not being met, where there is abuse, where there are repeated complaints about all kinds of situations. situation — of which at least the astronomical spread of COVID-19… You can see why people in detention themselves not only question the conditions of detention in the first place, but even even the reality of detaining them in the first place. ”

ICE said medical staff at La Palma informed Sayad, through an interpreter, that his hunger strike could have deadly consequences. He was evaluated by a psychologist, “who did not find out that he suffered from any kind of mental illness that prevented him from eating or drinking,” the ICE filing reads.

Sayad has shown “unable to stand due to headache and dizziness; standing unsteadily and having to sit after about two minutes of standing; and no urine output could be measured,” the filing states.

“Now that Mr Sayad is on a hunger strike on his 24th day, he is expected to continue to collapse and possibly suffer from neurological symptoms,” it continued. “He developed symptoms so severe that he was hospitalized twice,” noting that ICE paramedics “are concerned that Mr Sayad is at risk of kidney failure, liver failure, or a coma from dehydration and hypotension, which will lead to death.”

A 2021 analysis by ACLU and Doctors of Human Rights identified half a dozen cases of forced feeding by ICE in detention centers in Texas from 2013 to 2017. In 2019, five asylum seekers on hunger strike were force-fed at an ICE facility in Louisiana, under Freedom for Immigrants, said many people on hunger strike are protesting “the long period of detention in inhumane conditions, and the arbitrary refusal of pardon and bondage as an incentive”. That same year, ICE admitted accidentally fed six Texas detaineesand one in Arizona.

In the case of Arizona, 44-year-old detainee Aamir Hafiz Sheikh is said to have refused to eat when Pakistani officials denied a US request for a travel document needed for ICE to deport him. A judge allowed the agency to rape the Sheikh, a small business owner found guilty of food stamp fraud in 2015 and ordered to be deported.

However, not all hunger strike people forced to eat. In another case in Arizona, ICE ended up transferring a striker’s housing assignment, “the need that underlies the hunger strike, preventing the need for force-feeding,” by Just Security.

Absolutely amazing considered First Amendment constitutionally protected speech. In a 1990 decision, US Supreme Court Justice William Brennan wrote, “King and Gandhi’s passive nonviolence is proof that a firm acceptance of pain can communicate devotion and justice more eloquently than words ever could. A boycott, like a hunger strike, conveys an emotional message not found in a letter to the newsroom, a conversation with the mayor, or even a protest march. “.

As immigration attorney Stephanie Norton told The Daily Beast, “This was really the only speech they had. It was the only power they had to protest against the way they were treated. “

In Sayad’s case, ICE stated in a court filing that he was “not claiming a constitutional right to starve himself or deny medical treatment, but rather… it appears that he is attempting to manipulate the system.” system — that is, change his classification, and/or secure his release from custody by starving himself until ICE officials agree to his request. ”

The agency went on to say that Sayad was risking his life by “making it impossible for the United States to fulfill its responsibility to provide him with adequate treatment and care,” and that his actions could “have significant destabilizing impact on the organization. ”

“If inmates were allowed to commit suicide, prisons would find it even more difficult than they already do to maintain discipline, given the impact of a suicide on inciting other inmates,” the filing said. states, noting that the government “has a legitimate right to be concerned with avoiding unnecessary and burdensome litigation, such as a federal civil rights lawsuit to allow Sayad to die.

It also explains that ICE is concerned Sayad’s situation may influence other detainees to go on hunger strike in an “attempt to manipulate employees to gain various benefits and privileges. For example, detainees may initiate a hunger strike to pressure staff to transfer them… or to demand their release from detention. Inability to intervene when medically necessary, [ICE] will be forced to choose between letting the detainee die and giving in to his wishes”.

For Norton, the binary choice between the two extremes — giving in to the detainees’ demands or letting them die — is the wrong way to frame the issue, she told The Daily Beast: “It’s really So, how did we get to this point? This person is very desperate? That he feels like this is the only option he has? And how has the system failed him so far? ”

Although Norton is not involved in Sayad’s case, she represents a hunger strike prisoner being held at ICE. Her client, Luis Diaz, joined a hunger strike last March and is now on strike again, Norton told The Daily Beast. letter sent to ICE administrators earlier this month and shared with The Daily BeastNorton, along with a pair of immigrant athletes and a medical doctor, noted that while Diaz was making his first strike, ICE officials “are said to have told Mr. Diaz that they would make sure that he will never be released.” His medical release request was later denied, after which he was transferred to Miami. Norton said that despite his later diagnosis with a serious heart condition, ICE continued to refuse to release him.

Diaz was in solitary confinement when the hunger strike began, he told The Daily Beast in a phone call Tuesday from the Miami jail. Diaz said he is currently isolated in a medical unit without any contact with other detainees.

Joanna Naples-Mitchell, a human rights attorney and US researcher at Physicians for Human Rights, says that when hospitals in the area refuse to assist with forced feedings, ICE often turns to contractors rather than “contrary to it” The medical ethics principles are very clear.” And ICE’s description of force-feeding as a medical necessity to avoid unnecessary deaths is something of a red herring, Naples-Mitchell told The Daily Beast.

“If they’re really worried about it, then they’re going to make a systematic effort to improve conditions across the board,” she said. “The fact that they are suddenly concerned about a hunger strike person dying while in custody, while they don’t show any of the same concern, goes to a lot of people, a lot of people who have died while in ICE custody. , really shows how questionable that concern is.” ICE gets Greenlight to force hungry striker Hamad Mohsen Thabit Saad Sayad in Arizona immigration prison

Russell Falcon

Russell Falcon is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Russell Falcon joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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