A US military official has reported that four of the inmates on hunger strike at the Guantanamo military prison and torture camp are in critical condition and have been transferred to the prison’s hospital.
Lieutenant Colonel Samuel House also announced on Tuesday that 17 out of the 84 inmates currently on hunger strike at the notorious prison facility are being forced-fed through the nose to prevent further deterioration of their health conditions.
Despite the official’s claim that only 84 Guantanamo inmates are on hunger strike, a number of the inmates’ defense attorneys have reported that all of the 166 detainees at the military prison have joined the hunger strike.
The inmates are protesting their indefinite detention by the US military without any charges and with no right to a legal trial.
One of the Guantanamo hunger strikers who has been held captive at the infamous military camp for nearly 11 years without any charges offered a graphic account of his own participation in the hunger strike in an April 14 article, titled “Gitmo is killing me,” published by the US daily The New York Times.
The 35-year-old Yemeni detainee Samir Naji al-Hassan Moqbel, who wrote the article with the help of an Arabic translator and his US-appointed lawyer, said he had lost over 30 pounds since starting his hunger strike on February 10 and experienced severe pain when force-fed by Guantanamo staff.
“Last month, on March 15, I was sick in the prison hospital and refused to be fed. A team from the ERF (Extreme Reaction Force), a squad of eight military police officers in riot gear, burst in. They tied my hands and feet to the bed. They forcibly inserted an IV into my hand. I spent 26 hours in this state, tied to the bed,” he wrote in part.
“I will never forget the first time they passed the feeding tube up my nose. I can’t describe how painful it is to be force-fed this way,” he added.
The hunger strikes began in early February, when the detainees complained that prison authorities searched their copies of the holy Quran for suspected contraband.
Most of the Guantanamo inmates have been picked up by American military forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the aftermath of the US-led occupation of Afghanistan under the pretext of removing the Saudi- and Pakistani-backed Taliban regime and bringing stability to the country.