Guantanamo hunger strike involves more than half of detainees
April 22nd, 2013
01:24 PM ET

Guantanamo hunger strike involves more than half of detainees

By CNN Pentagon Producer Larry Shaughnessy

The number inmates participating in a hunger strike at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has risen sharply in the past few weeks to include more than half of those held at the military-run facility.

Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale, a spokesman on detainee issues for the Pentagon, said on Monday the number stood at 84, up from just over 30 less than a month ago.

"We've heard over several unclassified phone calls that this is grimmer than it has been in years, so people have been dropping below 100 pounds," Cori Crider, a lawyer who represents several of the detainees, told CNN last week.

"Shaker Aamer and Samir, our two clients, say they've lost at least 30 pounds since they've been striking. Another of my clients, a guy called Nabil, a French resident - he says he was hospitalized. So we are incredibly worried."

But Breasseale said the number of hunger strikers fluctuates because some join for a time, then come off and eat several meals before joining again.

The facility currently houses 166 inmates. Suspected terrorists were sent there after the 9/11 al Qaeda attacks on the United States.

The Pentagon uses a standard similar to that used by the National Bureau of Prisons for defining a hunger strike.

According to Breasseale, anyone who skips nine meals in a row is considered on strike, and some of the detainees will skip nine meals, get counted as a hunger striker, then start eating again.

But others are staying on longer term. At least 16 receive "enteral feeding," a process that administers liquid nutrition through a tube.

Some human rights activists call that force feeding, but Breasseale said most of the detainees fed that way select a flavor of liquid.

There are detainees, however, who have to be restrained before being fed in that manner because the Pentagon says it will not let any of them "commit suicide by starvation."

One of Crider's clients, Samir Naji Hasan Moqbel, is one of them.

"It's an incredibly agonizing process to be force fed like that," Crider said.

Beginning last year through mid-February, between five and six detainees started and stopped hunger strikes. But the number grew after lawyers for some of those held drew attention to conditions at the facility, Breasseale said earlier this year.

David Remes, a Washington-based lawyer who represents more than a dozen Guantanamo detainees, said at the time that his clients told him the strikes were "the last straw" in response to what was described as more intrusive treatment.

For instance, he said his clients were unhappy with an early February search of detainee personal items and an intent to search Korans, something that had stopped in 2006. There were other issues as well, Remes said.


Filed under: Cuba
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Bccsn

    It sets an alarming precedent that the rights of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay to refuse medical care is being discussed, while here in the US the American Medical Association supports the forced immunization of healthcare workers with the consequence of having their position terminated if they refuse. Why should prisoners be given more basic human rights than those of us who have not committed any crime?

    April 30, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Reply
  2. Zippy

    The prisoners should get some type of medal for saving the US money it costs us taxpayer for their food. I'm sure Congress will think of something...that's assuming they haven't forgotten how to think. Whoops! Too late.

    April 26, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Reply
  3. fredappl

    Just let the slim die. I could really care less. It's just one more meal that could be provided to a deserving citizen of this country. Put em on a raft and send them out to sea they're less than human garbage. Oh, but don't ask me, I'm somewhat biased. If it were up to me they'd all be walking the halls looking for the ugly virgins. If they went to bars they'd already be hooked up. This old Marine would bust a cap and never look back. Why do we continue to house, support and care for this smelly vermin? We have already made the point, it's time to flush the toilet and let this waste go elsewhere. Are they heros? don't think so, why are they still alive. Send them home with messages of their cooperation to save their own smelly body. They are slugs and guess what, when they know they're going to be sent HOME, they're going to crawl all over our boots to not send them to their death. FM

    April 26, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Reply
  4. Andy

    May we grow in the grace and the knowledge of Christ!!! Don't die but received the gift of God.
    For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord
    But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us, so everyone who calls on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved from this sinful nature and go to heaven.
    Love Andy : )

    April 25, 2013 at 10:26 am | Reply
  5. Mister Jones

    Let them have at it. ... This shouldn't even be news at all. I'd ask in the morning who planned to hunger strike that day, and then tell the cooks. Isn't the government short on cash anyway? This one seems like a really simple solution.

    ... I bet this wouldn't work out so well if a U.S. soldier was captured by the Taliban. It probably wouldn't make Al-Jazheera news.

    Let 'em starve.

    April 23, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Reply
    • George Patton

      I say bring some hungry hogs from cuba, feed them, and let these prince of whales watch hogs eat their breakfast, lunch, dinner

      April 23, 2013 at 7:59 pm | Reply
      • Pete

        @George Patron,one better bring in hungry hogs from around our states and let them eat prisoners..They'll be gone in no time ,even the bones...Hogs eat anything ....

        April 23, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
    • Bccsn

      … I bet this wouldn’t work out so well if a U.S. soldier was captured by the Taliban...

      I certainly hope the policy if the Taliban isn't where you look to define the Americas standard if humanitarianism and treatment for POW's, if so you seriously undermine what many thousands if dedicated US armed forces members have laid down their lives for...this thinking is a disgrace to those in uniform and more than anything indicates the terrorists have accomplished their true goals which is to scare you into abandoning our true morals/values

      April 30, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Reply
  6. George Patton

    that's okay let them starve for few days, they have been collecting fat for too long, it is time to burn it.

    April 23, 2013 at 11:00 am | Reply
  7. Hahahahahahaha

    Makes me want to go out and get a Double Bacon Cheese Burger with the works!!! Hahahahahahhaha

    April 23, 2013 at 10:19 am | Reply
  8. Oshkosh

    USMC 1371 , I can't agree with you any more. Mr.Gerge Patton if you are such a bleeding heart please go to any Muslim majority country and live as a minority and will find out how tolerant are those Muslim. Here in US they gets all the freedom and opportunity still at any opportunity many of them will not blink to kill innocent civilian.

    April 23, 2013 at 1:55 am | Reply
    • USMC1371

      What gets me is they complain about the U.S. government but they are the first to want aid from us then blame us for their problems. Being cowards they attack innocent instead of the government they claim caused their problems. What we need is a big dose of isolationism. Cut off the rest of tge world and let it roll around in its own filth for awhile. Bet it won't take long for the beging to start.

      April 23, 2013 at 5:24 am | Reply
      • Joseph McCarthy

        Good posting, USMC1371. Isolationism is truly a great idea whose time has come. It's exactly what this country needs to do. Thank you.

        April 23, 2013 at 11:30 am |
  9. Piedad Guzman

    And we talk bad about China. USA is doing the same, this is human rights violation.

    April 22, 2013 at 8:49 pm | Reply
    • USMC1371

      You make the decision not to eat and its someone else's fault? WoW must be nice....

      April 23, 2013 at 6:44 am | Reply
  10. Pete

    Hey the more the merrier,let them all starve and let the sharks off the island have their remains,good chum for real shark fishing guys!!Some off Florida coast are great whites and they'd love these jerks as well alive if like that kinda thing ,just cut em and throw them in they won't last long I can tell yah!!

    April 22, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Reply
    • USMC1371

      They need a like button on this blog.

      April 22, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Reply
      • George Patton-2

        Good grief USMC1371, both you and Pete sound like a couple of right-wing, bloodthirsty, hateful Tea Partiers. Where and when did you guys learn how to hate like that anyway? Blind hatred like like that is born out of sheer ignorance. You should learn about the Chechen people and their aspirations before judging and condemning them!!!

        April 22, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
      • Pete

        @George Patton2,please quit disgracing a popular WWII heroes name..And you know why I speak of republicans in such an ill way is because of their and yours inherient short memory,ignorence when faced with your partys past screwups and other debacles..I speak facts and most of your party and you included never bring anything of substance or facts to the table,just constant parroting of the same unfactual crap just something put here to see if you can write that's all no brains to peck like brainless republican morons do....I bring up facts about your past heros in Hoover,Reagan and Bushs and others most of you seem to have never heard or spoke of and all you do is rant,parrot of Pres.Obama a Muslim,impeachment him and other senseless trash because actually Pres.Obama factually isn't Muslim,he's Christian and no matter what you or other ignorent republicans here spew he can't be impeached ,just some of the trash we the intelligent ones here have to put up with daily from ignorents as yourselves..Is that alright for a rebuttal George and please again change the name because everytime I read that name with your related posts you want to make me puke because I know George Patton was something you'll never be in an intelligent scholar and a respected military general,hero as well.Lose the name bud it doesn't fit you or your propaganda your selling here as well!!

        April 23, 2013 at 11:12 am |
      • George Patton-2

        Pete, I want to reiterate here that I do not belong to either political party here. Both the Democrats and the Republicans are right-wing fanatics on the payroll of the M.I.C. that Pres. Dwight Eisenhower warned us about back in Feb. 1959. Unfortunately, very few people listened then and now look at what happened!!!

        April 23, 2013 at 11:26 am |
      • Pete

        @@George Patton,yes and it was also Eisenhower having people in Vietnam in the 50s way before the blame was leveled at JFK in the 60s,remember Gulf of Tonkin incident that got us into war with N Vietnam..Eisenhower did that for his reelection campaign showing him as a tough as nails general,America loved warriors like him then..And remember George the only rightwing leaning democrate is a Dino and I dispise them as well as republicans..Please don't ever curse at me calling me one of those delushional tea partiers either,how low will you go!!

        April 23, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
  11. SoouthernCelt

    Who cares? If they want to starve to death, good riddance! After what they have done it is what they deserve.

    April 22, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Reply
    • George Patton-2

      Another hateful comment from another Tea Partier. On the other hand, after all the torture these men were subjected to, I say, turn them loose!!!

      April 22, 2013 at 8:01 pm | Reply
      • USMC1371

        Is calling someone a tea partier the only comment you can put together in that small head head of yours? I am not a member of any party thank you very much. Just a American that is sick of paying the bill's for waste of oxygen. Those people have pure hate for anyone that doesn't believe in their false profit and the only way to cure the problem and rid the world of that hate is to eliminate them. They have made the decision now they should pay the price.

        April 22, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
      • Pete

        @George Patton,now you're sounding like a middle eastern raghead bud,just a planted troll to spread your ignorent ideologies thinking something you're not ,intelligent!!And cut the tea party crap bud ,if you know what they really are bud,just a delushional group that have no place to call home!!

        April 23, 2013 at 11:19 am |
      • jonny

        well im from canada and not a tea partier and i say LET THEM STARVE SAVES THE TROUBLE OF FEEDING THEM. But im sure you will be able to pull the victim card for them somehow as it is never there fault always someone elses right.
        They are getting what they deserve let them rot.

        April 23, 2013 at 11:43 am |
      • American

        It seems that you need to be taken to the funny farm after what they did to us Ill let them starve or serve them BBQ pork TAKE T OR LEAVE IT it seems youre supporting them in a big way Youre the rat, im smelling right now

        April 23, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
    • Mike

      What did they do though? They're being held without charge.

      April 23, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Reply
      • Pete

        @mike,get with the program buddy called prisoners of war ,enough said..

        April 23, 2013 at 9:39 pm |

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