Guantanamo prisoners launch bid to halt force-feeding

Four detainees at the US-run Guantanamo Bay military jail have lodged a legal bid to stop prison authorities from force-feeding inmates, lawyers for the men said Monday.

Prisoners at Guantanamo have been on hunger-strike since earlier this year in protest at their treatment at the controversial facility, where the vast majority of detainees have never been charged.

Authorities at the jail say they are force-feeding 44 inmates out of an estimated 120 prisoners who are on hunger strike.

However the motion filed by rights watchdog Reprieve on behalf of four detainees -- Ahmed Belbacha, Shaker Aamer, Abu Wa'el Dhiab and Nabil Hadjarab -- demands the immediate cessation of force-feeding, decrying it as "torture."

Belbacha said in a statement transcribed through his lawyer that he was fully aware of the consequences of stopping force-feeding.

"I am participating in this hunger strike of my own free choice and am fully aware of the negative consequences which a long-term strike could have on my health," he said.

"I realize the consequences of ending the force-feeding regime. Understanding this, I ask the court to stop the prison authorities from force-feeding and forcibly medicating me."

Hadjarab meanwhile described the chair where prisoners are fed by nasal tubes as similar to an "execution chair."

Dhiab accused authorities of "torturing us every day, supposedly to preserve our health."

Reprieve said the legal motion also called for a halt to the administering of a drug known as Reglan, commonly used to treat nausea.

Reprieve said long-term use of Reglan could cause neurological damage.