Dr. Nicholl's Letter To Prime Minister, Tony Blair - Gitmo Force Feeding



The Right Hon. Tony Blair,
Prime Minister

10 Downing Street

Tuesday 25th October, 2005

Dear Mr Blair,

We write as concerned physicians regarding the medical attention being given to the detainees on hunger strike in Guantanamo Bay, including, according to Amnesty International, at least 6 British residents. US military spokesmen confirm that 22 hunger strikers are being force fed. The World Medical Association, in its 1975 Declaration of Tokyo on Torture and again in the 1991 Declaration of Malta on Hunger Strikers specifically prohibits the use of force feeding of hunger strikers.
Fundamental to doctors' responsibilities in attending a hunger striker is the recognition that prisoners have the same right as any other patient to refuse medical treatment. Our own government has respected this basic human and legal right even under very difficult political circumstances and allowed hunger strikers to die in Northern Ireland in the early 1980's. Doctors (and politicians) do not have to agree with the aims of the prisoner or the steps the prisoner is taking, but they must respect the prisoner's informed decision. Doctors breaching such guidelines should be held to account by their professional bodies, specifically Dr John Edmondson, the commander of the US naval hospital  at Guantanamo.

We would urge your government, which so far has remained silent, to intervene to ensure that those detainees currently being held in Guantanamo are being properly assessed medically by independent physicians and to ensure that techniques such as force-feeding are abandoned forthwith in accordance with internationally agreed legal and ethical standards.

Dr David Nicholl, Consultant Neurologist  (and c/o Reprieve, PO Box 52742, London, EC4P 4WS  Tel: 020 73534640)


in behalf of  the other co-signatories (by e-mail)

Dr Steve Sturman, Consultant Neurologist                                            steve.sturman@swbh.nhs.uk

Dr Mary-Ann Simons, Consultant Geriatrician                                           Mary-ann.simons@swbh.nhs.uk

Dr Deva Situnayake, Consultant Rheumatologist                                      Deva.situnayake@swbh.nhs.uk

Dr Atika Kabeer, Consultant Anaesthetist & Pain Specialist               Atika.kabeer@swbh.nhs.uk

Dr Richard Murrin, Consultant Haematologist                                       Richard.murrin@swbh.nhs.uk

all City Hospital, Birmingham (0121 554 3801)

Dr Bernadette Gregory, General Practitioner,
HM Prison, Birmingham                                                                              bernielock@fsmail.net

Dr Tom Heafield, Consultant Neurologist,
Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham.                                                     Tom.Heafield@uhb.nhs.uk

Prof Elwyn Elias, Consultant Hepatologist,
Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham
(& President of British Society for Gastroenterology)                                 Elwyn.elias@uhb.nhs.uk

QE Hospital 0121 472 1311

Prof Charles Warlow, Department of Clinical Neurosciences,
Western General Hospital, Edinburgh EG4 2XU
(former President of Association of British Neurologists).
Tel: +44 (0) 131 537 2082
Fax: +44 (0) 131 332 7886
Email: cpw@skull.dcn.ed.ac.uk

Dr Helen Lewis, Consultant Dermatologist,
Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham                                                                  Helen.Lewis@uhb.nhs.uk

Hospital switchboard 0121 472 1311

Dr Hugh Rickards, Consultant Neuropsychiatrist,
Queen Elizabeth Psychiatric Hospital, Birmingham                              Hugh.Rickards@bsmht.nhs.uk

Hospital switchboard 0121 472 1311

Dr Peter Gooderham, Tutor,
Cardiff Law School, & Retired General Practitioner.
Museum Avenue, Cardiff CF10 3XJ.                                                         gooderhamep@Cardiff.ac.uk

Dr Martyn Carey, Consultant Neuropathologist
Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham                                                      Martyn.Carey@uhb.nhs.uk

Hospital switchboard 0121 472 1311

Dr Jenny Vaughan, Consultant Neurologist
Charing Cross Hospital, London                                                                        jvaughan@doctors.org.uk

Dr. Steven C. Martin, Consultant Chemical Pathologist
West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk                                      s.c.martin@doctors.org.uk

Dr Lesley Wilson, Consultant Old Age Psychiatrist.
The Poplars, Westmount, St Helier, Jersey, JE2 3LP.
Tel 01534 624832.

Dr Michael Peel,
Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture
111 Isledon Road,
N7 7JW
Tel 020 7697 7777

Printable version
Campagne en faveur des détenus de Guantanamo en grève de la faim (dont 31 Algériens)