Gitmo hunger strike reaches 100th day

30 out of more than 100 strikers are being tube-fed as the protest hits a grim milestone


Natasha Lennard
May 17, 2013 11:36PM (UTC)

Detainees at Guantanamo Bay prison camp on Friday reached the 100th day of a hunger strike that began in February and has grown to include more than 100 inmates. According to official numbers, which the detainees' lawyers say are too low, 102 detainees are currently striking, and 30 are being force-fed.

The strike, which according to the detainees' attorneys began in response to guards removing detainees' personal affects, swiftly grew into a protest against the camp that has held many men for over a decade without charge. Eighty-six of the 166 prisoners in the prison have been cleared for release by President Obama’s own Review Task Force.

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Friday's grim milestone, noted Kevin Gosztola, was marked with protests "all over the world, in front of the White House and in London, Sydney, New York City, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Honolulu, Anchorage, Eureka, California, Amherst, Massachusetts, Toledo, Ohio, and Charlottesville, Virginia. The demands by Amnesty International and other human rights groups are to transfer detainees cleared for release and appoint a high-level official to lead the effort to close Guantanamo."

Omar Farah, staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, commented:

As the hunger strike at Guantanamo passes its 100th day, my clients’ bodies are breaking down, but their resolve and spirit have never been stronger. When I met with Tariq Ba Odah on April 30, he told me: "We have nothing left to lose, but I have never seen such high morale in the prisoners. We will endure anything to be free." That same day, President Obama vowed again to close Guantanamo. Words are not enough. After 11 years of indefinite detention without charge or trial, Tariq and the others trapped at the prison cannot wait any longer. The president must use every tool at his disposal to release the prisoners he will not try in a fair court and finally shutter Guantanamo, once and for all. Every day he delays tempts an awful fate.


Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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