One in 5 Gitmo Prisoners On Hunger Strike

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2009 6:25 PM CST
Guantanamo detainees pray before dawn in the Camp 4 detention facility on the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2008.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
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(Newser) – About one in five Gitmo detainees is on a hunger strike to catch the attention of Barack Obama, the Times of London reports. Of the 248 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, 44 are refusing to eat, prompting the US to force-feed 33 of them through tubes. A military official also tells the paper that on the night of the election, inmates chanted, "Obama!" when they somehow learned of the results.

Hunger strikes aren't uncommon at Gitmo, but this is the biggest number since 2006. “This is the seventh anniversary of the arrival of the first detainees and a week today is the inauguration of a new president," explained the official. "Hunger striking is an acknowledged form of protest.” A New York human rights lawyer says the number of hunger strikers is actually closer to 70.