Nearly all of the Guantanamo Bay inmates participating in a hunger strike have continued eating, US military officials said Friday, in a possible indication that their protest has improved the immediate conditions of their indefinite imprisonment.
The military said that 99 of the 102 hunger strikers have
consumed a meal within the past 24 hours, bringing a possible end
to the nearly six-month-long demonstration meant to focus
international attention on the inmates’ detentions.
Forty-five of the detainees are on the “enteral feed
list,” according to Army Lt. Col. Sam House, a spokesman for
the US prison camp. All of the 102 are still listed as strikers
because the military requires someone to consume “solid food
and caloric intake” for several consecutive days before that
individual is reclassified.
“Additionally, when an enteral fed detainee chooses to end a
hunger strike, doctors monitor the re-introduction of regular
meals at a controlled pace, to avoid ‘refeeding syndrome,’ which
can happen when undernourished people suddenly consume food,”
A US judge on Monday called the process of enteral feeding, when
an inmate is strapped down and fed through a nasal tube, a
“painful, humiliating, and degrading process,” although
she said only US President Barack Obama had the authority to halt
Navy Captain Robert Durand told the Associated Press most
prisoners celebrated the first day of the Muslim holy period of
Ramadan with a meal of lamb, adding that tension between the
guards and inmates seemed to briefly dissipate.
“We are just pleased that they are for the most part eating
and for the most part we are having good order and discipline in
the camps,” he said.
Lawyers have warned throughout the more than 150 day strike to
approach the military’s claims with skepticism. The military did
not speculate on the reasons behind the sudden break in the
strike, but critics have wondered whether prison officials
relaxed the restrictions for communal living.
“Detainees in communal living must agree to not hunger strike
for their health and safety,” House said. “Currently there
are approximately 100 detainees living in some sort of communal
setting at the various camps.”
David Remes represents five prisoners who have been force-fed and
reminded reporters the ultimate goal is to break the deportation
“All I hear from my clients is that they are going to keep
going and they are not going to stop,” he said. “Getting
the president’s attention isn’t enough. Getting him to start
sending detainees home is what he has to do.”
Earlier this week a federal judge ordered Guantanamo guards to
stop their invasive genital search policy because it
“flagrantly disregards the need for a light touch on religious
and cultural matters.”
Republished with permission from: RT