May 18, 2013 Al Jazeera & Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
Begun in February to protest the confiscation of detainees' Qurans, the hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay has moved into its 100th day, with more strikers joining in and the ones who have been striking from the beginning increasing in failing health. Activists demanding the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison have marked the 100th day of a hunger strike there by submitting a petition to the White House containing some 370,000 signatures.
Guantanamo Hunger Strike Enters 100th Day Al Jazeera
(May 17, 2013) -- Activists demanding the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison have marked the 100th day of a hunger strike there by submitting a petition to the White House containing some 370,000 signatures.
A group of activists wearing orange jumpsuits and black hoods like those used on detainees at Guantanamo Bay gathered outside the White House on Friday to call for the immediate closure of the controversial jail.
"Immoral, illegal, ineffective," a banner read.
Richard Killmer, executive director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, said that "years of detention without charge or trial have created a sense of desperation and hopelessness among the men at Guantanamo, which has led over 100 of them to join a hunger strike." Colonel Morris Davis, a former military prosecutor at Guantanamo, handed over the petition to the White House.
Activists also brandished an effigy of President Barack Obama, referencing his past vow to close the US military prison.
Out of 166 inmates, 102 are on hunger strike at Guantanamo, with 30 being fed through tubes. One inmate continued to be hospitalised but prison officials said his life was not in danger. Inmates are restrained and a feeding tube is pushed through their nose and into their stomach -- a practise the UN compares to torture.
Speaking to Al Jazeera, Dr Otmar Kloiber, Secretary General at the World Medical Association, said the force-feeding was "degrading and inhuman".
(May 17, 2013) -- Begun in February to protest the confiscation of detainees' Qurans, the hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay has moved into its 100th day, with more strikers joining in and the ones who have been striking from the beginning increasing in failing health.
Defense lawyers have been critical of the military's treatment of the strike, which has been to repeatedly downplay it. At present, they are conceding to at least 102 strikers, 30 of whom are being force-fed. They continue to insist no one is in a "life-threatening condition."
Which is flat out nonsense, according to medical experts, who say that simply being on a hunger strike for that long, whether being force-fed or not, qualifies as "life-threatening." Reports continue to emerge of detainees collapsing from hunger in solitary confinement, while others remain shackled to hospital beds.
The hunger strike is being carried out not only by "suspects" being held at the facility, but many detainees who have long since been cleared for release, and who the administration simply never seems to get around to releasing. After years of waiting, many see death as the only way out, and the force-feedings as just one more arbitrary punishment.
The Pentagon has continued to defend its behavior, from force-feedings to violent crackdowns on the prisoners. Attorney Ramzi Kassem has pressed the Justice Department to review the April crackdown, calling on them to release photos of his client covered in blood after being shot repeatedly by "non-lethal rounds" during a guard attack on the prison. The military says no further reviews will take place.
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