Quote 17 Apr 19 notes
Detainees began a hunger strike in February in response to the military searching the detainees’ Qu’rans, saying detainees were hiding weapons in them. Since then, detainee lawyers say, the strike has grown both in scope and intent, from a protest over conditions at the camp itself to a broader protest of the detainees’ years-long confinement without trial and no hope of release. It’s unclear how many detainees are striking, but the military’s official count is 52 detainees on hunger strike and 15 being force-fed (the military counts detainees as being on hunger strike if they’ve missed nine meals in a row). Attorneys for the detainees say that a majority of the men confined at Gitmo—130—are now on hunger strike. “If the detainees are right, it is the largest percentage-wise, if not numbers-wise,” says Karen Greenberg, director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School. “This is not just a protest, this is truly an act of despair. This is different.” A defense department official told Mother Jones that the Pentagon believes “hunger striking to be a peaceful form of protest,” but that “we will not allow a detainee to harm himself.” The defense department official added that “If they present certain medical conditions, we will feed them via enteral means. We believe this is our obligation.” The International Committee of the Red Cross opposes force-feeding. Last week ICRC president Peter Maurer called the hunger strikes at Gitmo a symptom of the larger problem of the political impasse over Gitmo.

#protest #politics #war #Guantánamo #Guantánamo Bay #GITMO #hunger strike

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