A new hunger strike is underway at the US detention center at
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, with more than a dozen detainees subjecting
themselves to daily force-feeding to protest their treatment,
The Boston Globe reported Monday.
According to the online edition of the newspaper, lawyers for
the hunger-strikers were quoted as saying that their clients'
actions are driven by harsh conditions in a new maximum-security
complex at Guantanamo to which about 160 prisoners have been moved
since December 2006.
The 13 detainees now on hunger strike is the highest number to
endure the force-feeding regime on an extended basis since early
2006, when the US military broke a long-running strike with a new
policy of strapping prisoners into "restraint chairs" while they
are fed by plastic tubes inserted through their nostrils.
The hunger strikers are now monitored so closely that they have
virtually no chance of starving themselves, the report said.
Yet their persistence underscores how the struggle between
detainees and guards at Guantanamo has continued even as the
military has tightened its control.
"We don't have any rights here, even after your Supreme Court
said we had rights," one hunger-striker, Majid al-Joudi, told a
military physician, according to medical records released recently
under a federal court order.
"If the policy does not change, you will see a big increase in
fasting," he said.
Guantanamo spokesman Robert Durand played down the significance
of the current hunger strike, describing the prisoners' complaints
The United States opened the detention facility at its naval
base in Guantanamo in January 2002 to hold terror suspects and
Taliban members mainly captured during the US-led war in
More than 390 detainees have been transferred abroad from
Guantanamo, and currently about 385 prisoners are still being held
(Xinhua News Agency April 10, 2007)