Guantanamo hunger strike to enter day 100

Guantanamo hunger strike to enter day 100
Thu May 16, 2013 10:40:41

Guantanamo hunger strike has triggered new wave of anger throughout the world as it enters 100th day this Friday.

Thirty of the detainees are being force-fed through a nasal tube, a practice the American Medical Association called “a violation of medical ethics.”

Lawyers acting for prisoners in Guantanamo say the real figures may be higher, but officially of the 166 inmates in Guantanamo, 100 are currently on hunger strike.

The 166 prisoners have been there eleven and a half years and 90 percent of them haven’t been charged with a crime.


The hunger strike began in February after an altercation between prisoners and guards, after guards allegedly interfered with the inmates personal belongings including the mishandling of Holly Quran.


Firstly only a few dozen of the prisoners were refusing to eat but by the end of April the authorities in charge of Guantanamo were forced to admit that the number had jumped to 100.


On April 14th, Cindy Panuco, a lawyer for the Afghan detainee Obaidullah told RT that guards were moving prisoners from communal living into single cells under the pretext of stopping them from acquiring weapons, but almost certainly in an attempt to break their resolve and stop them hunger striking.


Feroz Abbasi, who was released from Guantanamo without charges, described how he was psychologically tortured by the Guantanamo guards.


“For some reason on the same night Iraq was bombed in March 2003, I was moved into isolation, solitary confinement, and I was there for two years. Six months of which were without sunlight,” he said.

Disturbing accounts by lawyers for Guantanamo inmates emerged Monday, that prisoners who wish to talk to their legal representatives are being subjected to humiliating new body searches.

David Remes, a lawyer for a Guantanamo inmate, told AFP that under the new search policy, “a detainee who leaves his camp is subject to a search including his private parts and holding his private parts.” Remes said that the searches were deliberately intended to deter detainees from meeting with their lawyers.

President Obama declared earlier this month that the “Pentagon is trying to manage the situation [in Guantanamo] as best in can”.

But on March 29th, well over a month since the hunger strike began, RT reported that a Pentagon briefing by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made no reference to the strike.

Also in March the Department for Defense requested almost $200 million to renovate the prison camp, while at the beginning of 2013 the state department wound up the office that was in charge of closing down the prison.

A consortium of 20 human right’s organizations, pressure groups and law bodies including Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union, issued a plea Monday to the US defense secretary Chuck Hagel to end the practice of force-feeding in Guantanamo.


The letter noted that the practice of force-feeding at Guantanamo amounts to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and is in violation of the Geneva conventions to which the US is a signatory.


There is also a growing level of discomfort about what is happening in Guantanamo among the medical community. An editorial published in the medical journal the Lancet earlier this month said that in this case force-feeding prisoners who had chosen not to eat as a form of protest “infringes the principle of patient autonomy.”


86 of the 166 prisoners still in Guantanamo have been cleared to leave the facility but haven’t been allowed to leave because there is no arrangement as to where they can be sent.


President Obama has repeatedly said he wants to close the detention center, but he refued to do so under pretext of persuading Congress that it is in America’s interests to shut it down.


He promised to “re-engage with Congress to try to make the case that this is not something that’s in the best interests of the American people.”


He went on to insist that justice has been served in a way that is “consistent with the rule of law” and the American constitution.


But he conceded that it was no surprise that there were “problems in Guantanamo” and that it isn’t necessary in keeping America safe.


“It is expensive, it is inefficient. It hurts us in terms of our international standing. It lessons cooperation with our allies on counterterrorism efforts. It is a recruitment tool for extremists. It needs to be closed,” he claimed earlier.