Two Men in ICE Custody Reach Day 72 of Hunger Strike

Image: Ted S. Warren (AP)

Two Indian asylum seekers detained by U.S. immigration Gurjant Singh and Ajay Kumar have been on hunger strike for 72 days, according to their attorneys. Advocates are concerned for their health.

Singh and Kumar were detained at an El Paso, Texas Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facility and have been moved to a nearby long-term care facility, according to reports.

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Officials apparently began force-feeding the men in August—a degrading, painful process that has often been described as torture.

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In court documents, Dr. Parveen Parmar, the chief of the division of global emergency medicine at the University of Southern California, said that Kumar had received “the worst medical care I have seen in my 10 years of practice” at ICE detention.

Parmar wrote: “As is clear from my review of his medical record, his health is at risk in ICE custody not solely from his hunger strike, but from the truly substandard medical care he is receiving in detention.”

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This is not the first time that people on hunger strike in ICE custody have been force fed.

“When people go on a hunger strike, it’s their last resort,” said Liz Martinez, director of advocacy at the group Freedom for Immigrants, which opposes immigration detention. “By starving themselves, these individuals really want the public to know the suffering they are facing in ICE detention and draw attention to it, especially because ICE is a place where they don’t really want information to be released.”

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