News / USA

More Than Half of Guantanamo Prisoners on Hunger Strike

Image from video shows a shackled detainee meeting with medical personnel in Camp 6, at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, in Cuba, April 16, 2013.
Image from video shows a shackled detainee meeting with medical personnel in Camp 6, at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, in Cuba, April 16, 2013.
Reuters
More than half of the men held at the Guantanamo detention camp have joined an escalating hunger strike to protest their open-ended detention, a camp spokesman said on Monday.

The U.S. military counted 84 of the 166 prisoners as hunger strikers and was force-feeding 16 of them liquid meals through tubes inserted in their noses and down into their stomachs.

Six were hospitalized for observation, said Lieutenant Colonel Samuel House, a spokesman for the detention operation at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in southeastern Cuba.

Asked if there were enough doctors and nurses to keep up with the twice-daily tube-feedings, House said, "We currently have enough medical personnel on site, and have identified additional medical personnel, should they become necessary in the future."

Hunger strikes have occurred at Guantanamo since shortly after the United States began detaining suspected al Qaeda and Taliban captives there in January 2002.

The current hunger strike began in early February, after guards seized photos and other belongings during a cell search. Prisoners said the guards had also mistreated their Korans during the search, which the U.S. military denies.

The military has declined to say what prompted the cell searches but similar searches have been conducted in the past.

Though the cell search was the immediate trigger, military officials and lawyers for the prisoners have said the protest generally reflects frustration with the failure to resolve the prisoners' fate. Most have been held for more than a decade without charge or trial and Congress has blocked Obama administration efforts to close the camp.

"It's escalated because the men are desperate and they've hit a breaking point," said Carlos Warner, a federal public defender from Ohio who is part of a team representing 11 Guantanamo prisoners.

"Really what is behind all this is the president abandoned his promise to close Guantanamo. The men know that, they're desperate."

Forty-three prisoners had joined the hunger strike by April 13, when guards in riot gear swept through a communal prison and forced the detainees into one-man cells where they could be better monitored. Camp officials said the detainees had covered the security cameras and windows, blocking guards' view.

The number refusing meals has grown steadily since then, and two prisoners tried to kill themselves by making nooses with their clothing, House said.

Lawyers for the prisoners have said the hunger strike is more widespread than the military acknowledges, with between 100 and 130 detainees taking part.

More than half of Guantanamo's prisoners have been cleared for release but Congress has put stringent restrictions on transfers. About two-thirds of those cleared for release are Yemenis and the Obama administration has halted repatriations to their homeland because of instability there.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
April 24, 2013 12:29 AM
Prisioners in most jails become depressed, and given that these people were alleged to be involved in terrorist activities, that is why they were captured, they would be more prone to mental afflictions; in my opinion, terrorists are not normal in any case. They probably need treatment for depression = happy pills and counselling?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More