News / USA

Guantanamo Prison Hunger Strike Grows

Guantanamo Prison Hunger Strike Growsi
X
May 08, 2013 8:41 PM
In the past two weeks, the number of detainees on hunger strike at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility has grown to 100 - more than half of the 166 men being held there. The hunger strike has succeeded in drawing attention to their indefinite detention, and their treatment at the hands of the U.S. military, which runs the prison. VOA Pentagon correspondent Luis Ramirez reports among the chief complaints is the practice of force-feeding prisoners.
Luis Ramirez
In the past two weeks, the number of detainees on hunger strike at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility has grown to 100 - more than half of the 166 men being held there.  The hunger strike has succeeded in drawing attention to their indefinite detention, and their treatment at the hands of the U.S. military, which runs the prison.  Among the chief complaints is the practice of force-feeding prisoners.
 
It is a daily routine at the detention facility; military staff, including a medical team, check to see who is eating and who is not.  
 
For the staff at Joint Task Force Guantanamo - whose mandate is to be safe, humane, legal, and transparent - the decision to force feed by inserting a tube into a detainee's nose and down to his stomach, is a matter of procedure. 
 
Navy Captain Robert Durand is a spokesman for the Guantanamo facility. 
 
“When a detainee refuses food, when they miss nine consecutive meals and declare an intent to be a hunger striker, we label them as a hunger striker and we start monitoring their health.  When they lose enough weight to endanger their health potentially, before they get to that point, usually about 85 percent of their ideal body weight, our joint medical group, the doctors and nurses and corpsmen, will make a recommendation to the joint task force commander that that detainee be enterally fed," he said. 
 
The hunger strike began in February.  The detainees, held for years, are protesting the U.S. government's failure to try those it suspects of being terrorists, or release the 86 detainees who have been cleared.  
 
President Obama promised to close the prison when he took office in 2009, but his administration blames his failure to do so on Congressional restrictions that require security guarantees from the countries that would receive them.  Recently, he restated his desire to see the prison closed.
 
But words are not enough for advocates pressing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to authorize the release of those who have been cleared. 
 
Attorney David Remes represents 17 of the hunger strikers. 
 
"My message to Hagel is to work with the administration and begin signing the national security waivers that Congress granted the president, which provided him with the authority and flexibility to transfer detainees who are at Guantanamo.  The administration can not keep passing the buck to Congress," he said. 
 
U.S. military officials say their responsibility is limited to providing care for the detainees. 
 
“Our job here is to make sure that they are held in a safe and humane manner and that when the time comes to transfer them, or release them, we will do that.  But until that time comes, you can be assured that we will do our job to safely and humanely detain them to the best of our ability," said Durand. 
 
Just a few months ago, the issue of the Guantanamo detainees was largely ignored by the U.S. media.  The hunger strike, and accounts of force-feeding, have put it back on Washington's radar.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid