Judge grants ICE request to force-feed detainee on hunger strike

SAN DIEGO — A federal judge in San Diego granted an emergency request Thursday to force-feed a Russian detainee in ICE custody who has been on a hunger strike for more than two weeks.

The request by Immigration and Customs Enforcement was filed Wednesday to involuntarily feed and hydrate Evgenii Ivanov, 41, who has been on a hunger strike at the Otay Mesa Detention Facility since Aug. 4. According to court documents, he has been refusing medical examinations and food, but the court papers filed by the government do not say why Ivanov began his strike.

He’s missed at least 51 meals since his hunger strike began, court documents state, though he has been drinking water.

A declaration from a physician indicates that Ivanov risks “severe physical injuries” as a result of the strike, including organ failure or death. In addition to force-feeding, the physician also recommended involuntary blood draws and other medical testing to ascertain his health.

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw granted the order, finding “there is a likelihood of irreparable harm” should steps not be taken to provide nutrition for Ivanov.

Another hearing for motions on a preliminary injunction is set for Sept. 4. Ivanov’s next immigration court hearing is Sept. 27.

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