ICE halts force-feeding of immigrant detainees

UNITED States (US) government has suddenly stopped force-feeding a group of men on a hunger strike inside an El Paso immigration detention centre, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said on Thursday.

The dramatic reversal comes as public pressure was mounting on ICE to halt the practice, which involves feeding detainees through nasal tubes against their will.

Last week, the United Nations human rights office said the force-feeding of Indian hunger strikers at the facility could violate the UN Convention Against Torture.

On Wednesday, a US district judge said the government had to stop force-feeding two of the detained Indian immigrants, but warned that if their health started to decline he would consider ordering force-feeding again, their attorney said.

On Thursday, all force-feeding at the detention centre near the El Paso airport had stopped, according to ICE spokeswoman Leticia Zamarripa.

“This is a win for us,” said Louis Lopez, who is representing Malkeet Singh and Jasvir Singh in the case heard on Wednesday in El Paso.

Both men are Punjabi Sikhs in their early 20s. “They have a First Amendment right to protest.” – AP