The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

Guantanamo Hunger Strikes Resume

by Brendan Coyne

Aug. 30, 2005 – Following an apparent breakdown in negotiations with military officials, a number of detainees at the Guantánamo Bay detention facility have resumed a hunger strike, threatening to starve themselves to death if conditions at the camp are not improved.

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In addition to seeking better treatment from their captors, the 89 participants are demanding trials.

The new food refusal was sparked by rumors of an especially intense interrogation session at Camp Delta and by new accusations that a copy of the Qur’an was desecrated, according to a handwritten statement of one detainee. Only a portion of the prisoner’s writings was declassified, the Boston Globe reports.

Binyam Mohammed’s account of the reason and intent behind the strike details gruesome treatment and laments United States military officials’ failure to deal with the hunger strikers on fair terms. According to his statement, US forces apprehended Mohammed in 2002, handed him over to Moroccan officials for about 18 months, and then took the man back into custody.

Mohammed said he was tortured in Morocco and has been enduring horrid conditions and treatment at the hands of his American captors. Abuse, humiliation and lies are commonplace at the camp, the statement says. Mohammed said he and others participating in the action are prepared to starve themselves to death.

The initial strike ended in late July, after seven detainees were hospitalized and military officials at the camp capitulated, negoting a deal to respect the prisoner’s religious practices and provide bottled water and other basic amenities in exchange for an end to the protests.

Two prisoners released in July told reporters that about 180 of the camp’s 500-plus detainees were involved in the initial effort.

Information about incidents and conditions at Camp Delta are notoriously difficult to confirm. Prison officials barred detainee lawyers and others from the camp last week, the Globe reported.

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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

Brendan Coyne is a contributing journalist.

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