Judge OKs Intravenous Feeding of Inmate on Hunger Strike

Arizona Republic Final Edition--Valley/State, August 3, 1989

A Maricopa County Superior Court judge has allowed prison officials to give intravenous feedings to an inmate who has been on a two-month hunger strike as a religious protest. The decision brought a mixed reaction from the director of the Valley's Sikh community, which has supported Guyer in his decision to fast but does not want to see him die. "I can't say I'm happy about the court order, but there is a part of me that is relieved." Mere Piare Singh Khalsa said. Guyer is serving a 10-year sentence for a 1986 aggravated assault conviction. About a year and a half ago, Guyer became a member of Sikh Dharma, a religion that prohibits members from cutting their hair or shaving. Last year, when the prison system instituted new rules for grooming that required male inmates to be clean shaven, Guyer refused to comply. It's a difficult situation, because there are inmates who use religion to get extra food or get around grooming requirements." Khalsa said.

On May 31, Guyer began the hunger strike, and since then, his weight has dropped to 122 pounds from 198, said Mike Arra, a Corrections Department spokesman.

Khalsa said about 10 other Sikh inmates have filed lawsuits against the prison system, claiming that the grooming rules violate their freedom of religious expression. But, he said that Guyer is the only one to fast in protest.

The Judge also ordered Guyer to cooperate with the intravenous feedings, which, according to Arra, will renourish the prisoner as well as help him recover from dehydration. Arra said Guyer was "in on condition" to be interviewed Wednesday.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.