Monday, April 15, 2013

Guantanamo Bay Prisoners on Hunger Strike May Die of Starvation

The Guardian of the UK has published two articles in the last few days on the Guantanamo Bay Prison. I share below the information:

Lawyers representing hunger-striking detainees at America's controversial Guantánamo Bay prison have warned they fear some of the protesters could soon die in the ongoing protest.

The news comes as fresh details emerge about conditions at the camp from lawyers visiting clients, letters being written by inmates and phone calls from inside the prison.

They describe dramatic weight loss among many of the hunger strikers, force-feeding, putting protesters in isolation and at least one suicide attempt – though that has been denied by military authorities.

In a letter written by Djamel Ameziane – an Algerian prisoner who has been cleared for release after 11 years of being detained without trial – guards were accused of pressuring prisoners to break the strike. "They are trying to deprive us of everything they can," he wrote in the letter, extracts of which were seen by the Guardian. Ameziane added that inmates were being disturbed during prayers and that the temperature in cell blocks had been lowered to make inmates less comfortable.

Ameziane said that prisoners were being moved from the communal Camp 6 to the more isolated Camp 5 as a form of punishment for striking. "People who lose consciousness are taken to Camp 5 and some of them are put in isolation. Because of that, two days ago, one prisoner hung himself in his cell. They took him to hospital. I have not heard any news about him since," Ameziane wrote.

A British hunger striker inside Guantánamo Bay has laid bare the deteriorating conditions of inmates, expressing fears that he and others will soon die as a result of what he described as "systematic torture".

Shaker Aamer, the last UK resident still held at the camp, claims he is subjected to harsh treatment from guards and denied water, despite being in a weakened state due to severe weight loss, according to a written declaration filed by his lawyer.

He also alleges that the US base will soon be dealing with its first fatalities as a result of the current action: "I might die this time," he is quoted by his lawyer as saying, adding: "I cannot give you numbers and names, but people are dying here."

According to the Huffington Post, reporters recently requesting media visits to examine prison conditions at the camp have been refused until May 6 at the earliest. However, the protest has still succeeded in getting conditions at Guantánamo back into the headlines in the United States, though it appears that there is currently little political will to deal with the issue.

Though President Barack Obama vowed in his first year in office to close the base, it remains open with little prospect of release for anyone inside, including those cleared. Earlier this year, the State Department office meant to deal with resettling Guantánamo prisoners was closed down.

But on Thursday a group of human rights organisations, including the CCR and Amnesty International, sent a joint letter to Obama demanding the base be closed down and its inmates either released or given a trial in a civilian court. "We urge you to begin working to transfer the remaining detained men to their home countries or other countries for resettlement, or to charge them in a court that comports with fair trial standards. We also urge you to appoint an individual within your administration to lead the transfer effort," the letter said.

For details, please, read the Guardian article by clicking here and here

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