Gitmo strike worsens, despite Obama vows

Obama's words meant little to the prisoners held for years without charge, starving in protest

By Natasha Lennard

Published May 30, 2013 8:42PM (EDT)

Despite Obama's vows to close Guantánamo Bay prison camp in his speech last week, the hunger strikers -- still imprisoned with now concrete promise of timely release -- continue to refuse food as more detainees join their ranks. The continued prisoner action is a stern message that deeds, not words are required from the Obama administration. As the Guardian reported:

On the eve of Obama's address, there were 103 prisoners on hunger strike, with 31 being force-fed by military authorities and one in hospital. Since then, not a single prisoner has stopped their strike, and now 36 of the detainees are being force-fed to keep them alive, with five of them being hospitalized.

In telephones calls and letters to their legal representatives, detainees have also described a regime of intimidating body searches and other restrictions they say are designed to prevent them from talking to their lawyers and also to break their resolve.

However, it seems that the hunger strike is showing no signs of ending, despite several promises made by Obama to shutter the camp and release many of those who have been held there without charge for more than a decade. "The numbers of strikers are not moving downwards. Nothing has changed," said Carlos Warner, a lawyer for several detainees.


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

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Barack Obama Gitmo Guantanamo Bay Guantanamo Hunger Strike Human Rights Hunger Strike