The Miami Herald
Mon, Apr. 18, 2005

Wife: Detainee on hunger strike was force-fed

A Cuban spy suspect on a hunger strike was temporarily given a saline solution intravenously at a hospital -- against his will, his wife said.


Juan Emilio Aboy, a Cuban spy suspect hospitalized while on a hunger strike, was given an intravenous saline solution for several days, his wife said Sunday.

Alina Aboy told The Herald the intravenous line was inserted despite her husband's objections after he was taken to Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital Wednesday from the Krome detention center in West Miami-Dade County. She said the line was removed Saturday.

Alina Aboy's comments were the first confirmation that medical authorities complied with a federal judge's temporary order April 8 empowering immigration officials to insert either a nasal or intravenous line to temporarily force-feed Aboy.

Aboy has been on a hunger strike for 37 days, demanding release so he can pursue appeals in freedom.

Immigration officials declined to confirm Sunday whether the intravenous line was inserted and removed.

Nina Pruneda, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said: ``The decision not to eat was his choice. A court order was issued allowing the U.S. Public Health Service to take any necessary precautions in the interests of his health.''

Aboy, 44, has said he will not eat again until released. He is fighting a deportation order that can't be carried out because Cuba generally refuses to take back exiles.

Aboy has been linked by investigators to the Wasp Network of more than a dozen Cuban government operatives in the late 1990s. Aboy has denied the allegations, and investigators have not produced specific evidence other than to indicate the information came from Wasp Network members who were government informants.

Aboy was arrested in May 2002 but has never been charged criminally. Instead, he was put in deportation proceedings.

U.S. District Judge Paul Huck has set a tentative hearing for Friday to hear from Aboy about his intentions and decide whether the government has authority to force-feed him.

Alina Aboy said her husband plans to tell the judge he wants to continue the hunger strike until federal authorities ``resolve his situation.''

It's unclear why Aboy remains in immigration custody. In 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court prohibited detention of undeportable foreign nationals with final deportation orders beyond six months -- unless they are deemed national security risks, terrorists or extreme dangers to the community.

Federal officials have not said how they view Aboy's detention and have not explained when they consider a deportation order final.

Miami attorney Ira Kurzban, who is considered an authority in immigration law, says that in his experience, immigration authorities in South Florida do not deem a removal order final until all litigation has ended.

Aboy began his hunger strike after the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected his appeal of a final deportation order in February. He is considering requesting that the entire appeals court review the case.