A leading American nursing association has backed a Navy nurse who refused to force-feed hunger striking prisoners at the Guantanamo military prison, PressTV reported.
In letters made public, the American Nurses Association asked Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel not to punish the unnamed nurse.
The organization of 3.1 million registered nurses argued that the nurses' professional code of ethics gives them a right to "make an independent judgment about whether he or she should participate in this or any other activity".
"A nurse's primary commitment is to the patient," read the letter.
The lawyer for the unidentified nurse said his client could be discharged and lose his benefits and pension.
"It is incumbent on all leadership to recognize the code of ethics under which nurses and other professionals must practice," American Nurses Association president Pamela Cipriano told a news briefing on Wednesday.
The US military has been criticized for force-feeding Guantanamo prisoners who have been engaged in hunger strikes for years to protest their confinement.
However, US officials no longer disclose how many of the 149 prisoners at the base are on hunger strike and meet the guidelines for force-feeding.