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Unlike the British in Northern Ireland, US prison officials will force-feed hungerstrikers, if necessary, to keep them alive. As many as 19 Cuban detainees now are refusing food at the Atlanta federal penitentiary. They are protesting the US refusal to release them to sponsors.

All releases have been held up pending a federal review of immigration policies.

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Last year the Bureau of Prisons force-fed an Iranian prisoner. And in 1974 a federal court upheld the right of the bureau to give medication to an injured prisoner again st his will.m

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