Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Hunger strikers close to death

DESPITE force feeding by the American military, several hunger strikers at Guantanamo Bay may be close to death, according to lawyers acting for the detainees.

The condition of two emaciated Yemeni hunger strikers who have been refusing solid food since August is causing particular concern. There are also fears for the life of a hospitalised Saudi prisoner.

The wife of a British resident and hunger striker, Shaker Aamer, visited the Commons last week to appeal to MPs for help. Aamer’s wife, 31, who lives in London with her four children and has asked for her name to be withheld, said: “This is the time to do something. My husband is not going to last.”

Aamer has been on hunger strike since November 2. Although he has lost weight, he is stronger than some other prisoners taking part in the protest at their detention without trial.

According to a report to be released tomorrow by the prisoners’ rights group Reprieve, the Yemenis, identified as Abu Bakah al-Shamrani and Abu Anas, are said by detainees to be gravely weak. Shamrani weighs only 70lb (5 stone).

Reprieve claims Camp Echo, which is comprised of isolation cells, has been turned into a “force feeding institution” away from other prisoners and its gravel path paved with concrete so the hunger strikers can be moved around in wheelchairs.

read more at the source


Blogger Nicoderm Patch said...

if they cared about life, they would eat

January 24, 2006 7:14 am  
Blogger Mea said...

This is quite clever on the prisoners' behalf- what other way do they have to rebel? Apparently 85 prisoners have taken up the surade, which is defined by the US military as "missing nine consecutive meals."

The UN special rapporteur has said that some of the force-feeding was cruel. I admit I wondered- is there a non-cruel way to force-feed someone? Apparently, they did not have doctors performing the tube insertions- which is highly unethical. Of course, the Pentagon denies any abuse. Until there is more investigation and until the international community is rightfully allowed to inspect the situation, all we have is a game of he-said, she-said.

Does anyone know more about the legalities of force-feeding? I know that suicide is illegal in the US, but to what extent is a hunger strike considered an attempt at suicide and what actions are legally permitted?

This is quite a diffcult situation to be up against. The best I can do is petition my government and work with those who have fought for rights for these prisoners.

January 24, 2006 7:32 am  
Blogger _H_ said...


if they cared about life, they would eat

And if you cared about 'life' you would be doing all you could to ensure these people are either tried and sentenced in a court or released

which ironically is all they are asking for.

You see not being tried of any crime whilst being kept in a cell in Cuba and occasionally being tortured would get to you after a while too. It is simple , if they are guilty then put them on trial and put them in jail .If they are innocent then release them.

If your one of these people that assumes that they are ALL guilty then I am sure you will have no problem with them being proven to be guilty in a court of law , with lawyers and in accord with the Geneva convention.

What could you possibly have to lose ?

you think these people have some wonderful information to tell you about the current state of al-qaeda after 4 years in gitmo ?

you think keeping Muslims locked up without any proof of guilt is helping win the war on terror ?

or do you think that such an action is encouraging many to join their ranks in their hundreds as they watch the 'justice , freedom and democracy' that we are claiming to represent in action ?

do you actually know how many people have been released from gitmo and returned to their countries (such as the UK) to be charged with zero crimes and to be told by the police that they have no concerns with any of them at all ?

you would think spending two or three years in gitmo would make them so angry that they would be out their making bombs as we speak

but no , they are campaigning to get kidnapped Americans and Brits in Iraq released !

some terrorists eh !

your government sticks chemical lights up their anus and they return the favour by working hard to get some of your fellow countrymen back home.

I am sure your very grateful for the work they are doing right now and I am sure you cant say sorry enough for the hell they went through

Of course you are...


Does anyone know more about the legalities of force-feeding?

As you state yourself M it is the method that is in question under the 'no doctor' guidelines briefly mention yourself , force feeding would be against the Geneva convention as it clearly would be classed as torture.

Forced feeding in general is not covered directly in the Geneva convention but is covered by Article 5 of the 1975 World Medical Association Tokyo Declaration, which US doctors are legally bound to observe through their membership of the American Medical Association and it states that doctors must not undertake force-feeding under any circumstances.

So in short if there is a doctor then it breaks the Tokyo declaration and if there is not a doctor it breaks the Geneva convention so you can take your pick.

That of course is the sort of legal mess you get in when you keep prisoners for prolonged periods of time without access to courts or justice for there 'claimed' crimes

As for what you can do well if you have not already then take a look here and make your voice join with many ....

January 24, 2006 8:40 am  
Blogger _H_ said...

BTW for those that wish to split hairs the 'torture' link above is an example of how forced feeding can be defined as torture

It is not meant as an example of the torture at gitmo for without allowing independent UN inspections of the camp it is very difficult to get exact details of almost anything going on inside that camp

A link worthy of a read is here and I would advise checking out the sources at the bottom of that page for further information

January 24, 2006 9:39 am  
Blogger Mea said...

In fact, I believe I have been viewing this rather narrowly. The point seems to be less about the feeding and more about the "force" of it all:

"Someone committed to self-starvation could easily remove such a tube, if he had any freedom of movement. So we can surmise that there is a line of twenty-one hospital beds, each with a prisoner held tight in four-point restraints. His head must be strapped down, immobile, and forcible sedation seems probable. Hardly the image evoked by the term 'assisted feeding.'"

THIS is what makes it questionable under the Geneva Conventions. Which brings me back to my initial point- is force-feeding a form of suicide and if so can one take action against that? Just trying to get a 360 degree view of the issue...

January 24, 2006 11:19 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Blair had any balls he'd get Bush to send any remaining British Citizens there back to the UK to be held in British prisons.

There can be no excuse for this and as someone pointed out, hunger strike is the only 'weapon' that they have; these men are desparate and no doubt on the edge of sanity.

If that were me, as soon as I were released I'd be bomb making and hitting back at the US as best I could. Am I a terrorist, no but I would be after 4 years in Gitmo.

Of course there are those that believe that is Gitmo's intended purpose, to create terrorists.

January 24, 2006 1:45 pm  
Anonymous head up your ass said...

quicker they starve,the quicker they get their virgins.

January 30, 2006 11:37 pm  
Blogger DJEB said...

Ass, your ignorance of Islam is, frankly, not surprising.

January 31, 2006 1:25 am  

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