Hunger strikers sue to prevent forced feeding at immigration detention center in Tacoma
A man who sued to prevent being force fed at the immigration detention center in Tacoma has ended his month-long hunger strike, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“Viacheslav Poliakov began accepting scheduled meals Sept. 21 and continues to do so without intervention,” ICE said Friday in an email to The News Tribune.
Poliakov, a Russian citizen, was protesting conditions at the Northwest Detention Center on the Tacoma Tideflats, and was seeking better access for detainees to medical care, supporters said. He has been at the center since April. 3.
A judge denied a temporary restraining order Poliakov sought earlier this month to keep ICE from force-feeding detainees who go on hunger strikes.
ICE wrote the court that the agency hadn’t asked for an order to force-feed Poliakov, but that it shouldn’t be prevented from seeking one.
Court filings say the agency learned of Poliakov’s hunger strike Aug. 22. He had been accepting fluids and medical monitoring during his strike. He’s no longer under medical observation, ICE said.
The lawsuit alleged hunger strikers are threatened with solitary confinement and trouble for their immigration cases.
“ICE respects the rights of all people to voice their opinion without interference,” the agency’s statement said. “ICE does not retaliate in any way against hunger strikers and explains the negative health effects of not eating to our detainees. Additionally, for their health and safety, ICE closely monitors the food and water intake of those detainees identified as being on a hunger strike.”
Another person is choosing to take a meal-replacement shake instead of eating, the agency said “therefore, there is no present need to medically intervene.”
The GEO Group, a private company, owns and operates the facility under contract with ICE.