US Takes Action as Gitmo Hunger Strike Grows

Move raises fears some strikers are near death

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 30, 2013 2:01 AM CDT

(Newser) – The US Navy has sent 40 extra medical staff to Guantanamo Bay to deal with a hunger strike now in its 12th week. Officials say 100 of 166 detainees are now on hunger strike, with 21 being force-fed through tubes, though lawyers say 130 prisoners are taking part, al-Jazeera reports. The medical reinforcements, including nurses and specialists, have sparked speculation that the condition of some detainees is rapidly deteriorating, the Guardian reports. Five of the men being force-fed have been hospitalized.

The inmates—almost 100 of whom are still at the camp despite having been cleared for release—are protesting their indefinite detention without trial or charge for 11 years and counting. "We will not allow a detainee to stave themselves to death and we will continue to treat each person humanely," a Guantanamo Bay spokesman says. "Detainees have the right to peacefully protest, but we have the responsibility to ensure that they conduct their protest safely and humanely." (Click to read one Gitmo lawyer's argument that Obama has turned a blind eye to the prison.)

A shackled detainee meets with medical personnel in Camp 6 at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base earlier this month.
A shackled detainee meets with medical personnel in Camp 6 at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base earlier this month.   (AP Photo/Suzette Laboy)
A  US flag waves above the the Camp Justice compound at Guantanamo Bay.
A US flag waves above the the Camp Justice compound at Guantanamo Bay.   (AP Photo/Toronto Star, Michelle Shephard, Pool)
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Unless President Obama acts soon, I believe it is likely one or more of the detainees will die. - Air Force Col. Morris Davis, former chief prosecutor at Guantanamo

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