U.S. detainees at Guantanamo Bay will not be force-fed after dawn and before sunset during the holy month of Ramadan.
Many of the detainees are on a hunger strike to protest conditions, and are therefore being force fed to ensure the stay alive. But the prison's medical staff will not make them take in nutrition during the religious period.
"We understand that observing the daytime fast and taking nothing by mouth or vein is an essential component of Muslim observance of Ramadan," Navy Capt. Robert Durand said. "And for those detainees on hunger strike we will ensure that our preservation of life through enteral feeding does not violate the tenets of their faith."
Prisoners on hunger strike are fed by U.S. soldiers, who must shackle captives into a restraint chair while a Navy nurse inserts a tube into the prisoner's nose, which delivers a nutritional supplement down the back of the throat and into the stomach. The process is known as enteral feeding.
Of the 166 foreign prisoners in the detention center, 106 of the captives were on hunger strike, with 45 designated for enteral feeding.
"We are confident that we will be able to provide life-preserving enteral feeds where necessary without violating a fundamental tenet of the Islamic faith," Durand said.
The commitment came a day after lawyers for four Guantanamo captives sought an emergency hearing at federal court in a bid to get a judge to order the Pentagon to stop force-feedings. Lawyers for prisoners from Algeria, Syria and Saudi Arabia petitioned the court to stop day-time feedings during Ramadan.
Troops will still offer meals during the day to those not observing the fast.