Nearly half of Gitmo prisoners are now on hunger strike


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The number of detainees taking part in a hunger strike at the US-run Guantanamo Bay military prison has grown to 77, an increase of 25 in just the past few days, according to a US military spokesman.

Lieutenant Colonel Samuel House said in a statement that of the detainees refusing food, 17 are receiving “enteral feedings,” a process involving being force-fed via tubes.

Five of the inmates have been admitted to hospital, although none faces “life-threatening conditions,” House said…

The hunger strikers are protesting against their incarceration without charge or trial at Guantanamo over the past 11 years.

“They say they want their freedom,” Al Jazeera’s Rosiland Jordan, reporting from Washington, said. “Or they’ll die trying to get it…”

Al Jazeera journalist Sami al-Haj, who spent six years at the Guantanamo Bay prison, said: “They used dogs on us, they beat me, sometimes they hung me from the ceiling and didn’t allow me to sleep for six days.”

Brandon Neely, a US Military Policeman and former Guantanamo guard, told Al Jazeera that detainees were “treated horribly”.

Neely said he regularly watched detainees being beaten and humiliated, as well as watching a medic beat an inmate.

Despite an order in 2011 by Barack Obama, the US president, to close Guantanamo down by the end of that year, there are no current plans to shut the prison.

American politicians all seem bound by a system of ethics which denies culpability, rejects responsibility for their actions – especially when they violate laws they otherwise praise. Passing the buck has become the number one sport inside the Beltway.

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