Friday, September 09, 2005

GITMO : Hunger strike hits 5th fifth week

More than 200 detainees in Guantánamo Bay are in their fifth week of a hunger strike,
Statements from prisoners in the camp which were declassified by the US government on Wednesday reveal that the men are starving themselves in protest at the conditions in the camp and at their alleged maltreatment - including desecration of the Qur'an - by American guards.
The statements, written on August 11, have just been given to the British human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith. They show that prisoners are determined to starve them selves to death. In one, Binyam Mohammed, a former London schoolboy, said:

"I do not plan to stop until I either die or we are respected.People will definitely die. Bobby Sands petitioned the British government to stop the illegitimate internment of Irishmen without trial. He had the courage of his convictions and he starved himself to death. Nobody should believe for one moment that my brothers here have less courage."

Yesterday, Mr Stafford Smith, who represents 40 detainees at Guantánamo Bay, eight of whom are British residents, said many men had been starving themselves for more than four weeks and the situation was becoming desperate.

He said: "I am worried about the lives of my guys because they are a pretty obstinate lot and they are going to go through with this and I think they are going to end up killing themselves. The American military doesn't want anyone to know about this."

He pointed to an American army claim that only 76 prisoners at the base were refusing food, saying that they were attempting to play down what could be a political scandal if a prisoner were to die.

In his statement, Mr Mohammed described how during the first strike men were placed on intravenous drips after refusing food for 20 days.

It is now August 11. They have betrayed our trust (again). Hisham from Tunisia was savagely beaten in his interrogation and they publicly desecrated the Qur'an (again). Saad from Kuwait was ERF'd [visited by the Extreme Reaction Force] for refusing to go (again) to interrogation because the female interrogator had sexually humiliated him (again) for 5 hours _ Therefore, the strike must begin again."

In another declassified statement, Omar Deghayes, from Brighton, said: "In July, some people took no water for many days. I was part of the strike and I am again this time. Some people were taken to hospital, and put on drip feeds, but they pulled the needles out, as they preferred to die.

Two things that come to my mind , One is that if we are now treating these people in line with the Geneva convention i am sure that they realise that "forced feeding" is itself against the convention

The second thing that comes to mind is , That people forget many of the inmates are children

if anyone has forgot this little snippet from 2003

US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has defended the detention of the boys - aged between 13 and 15 - at Camp Delta, saying they are "enemy combatants", captured while fighting for the Taleban or al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
General Richard Myers, chairman of the US military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the boys were being held "for a very good reason - for our safety".