The number of Guantanamo Bay detainees on hunger strike has dwindled from over 100 in July to 19 according to the latest official figures. As such, U.S. military officials announced Monday that they will stop issuing daily hunger strike updates.
Since this current strike’s inception in February, attorneys representing and in contact with clients in Gitmo have long challenged military reports on the strike, arguing that officials were downplaying the number of strikers and severity of force-feeding procedures used at one point on over 40 strikers.
Pardiss Kebriari, senior attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents a number of Gitmo detainees, attributed the smaller strike numbers to both the protest’s felt success and coercion by detention center officials. Via Al-Jazeera:
“For some,” [Kebriari] said, “they feel their protest was heard to some extent, and they’ve been heartened by the international response.”
She said for other prisoners, however, the camp administration’s brutal pressure tactics during the strike played a role. The U.S. military “made being taken out of solitary confinement contingent on men ending their strike,” she said.
Eighteen of the remaining strikers are on the “enteral feed list,” meaning they can be strapped down and fed a liquid nutrient mix through a nasal tube. According to the military’s latest tally, no hunger striking inmates are being observed at a base hospital.
Kebriari told Al Jazeera that force-feedings continue including for the purpose of forcing men to receive medical treatment. The U.N.’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in May referred to the force-feedings as “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.”