Terror suspects' hunger strike grows
More Guantanamo detainees have joined a growing hunger strike at the US military prison, with nearly a third of the 166 so-called war-on-terror suspects participating, a spokesman said.
Captain Robert Durand said on Wednesday that 52 detainees are refusing food, 15 of whom are being tube-fed by prison officials. That was up from 43 hunger strikers, including 11 being tube-fed, last Friday.
Three of the detainees receiving food by tube are being observed in hospital, said Durand, but they do not suffer from life-threatening conditions.
Attorneys representing inmates at the prison have said that most of the estimated 130 detainees at Guantanamo's Camp Six wing, which houses "low-value" prisoners, are on hunger strike.
The strike began on February 6, when the men said prison officials searched their Korans for contraband. Officials have denied any mishandling of Islam's holy book.
Lawyers say most of the hunger strikers are protesting their incarceration, without charge or trial, for the past 11 years.
Durand said a new procedure is in place to alert lawyers via the Justice Department when the Guantanamo commander approves tube-feeding a detainee.
"This procedure allows attorneys to be kept abreast of their client's status and reduces the need for emergency phone calls each time the number changes," he said.
A report by advocacy group the Constitution Project has condemned the practice of enteral feeding at Guantanamo.
"Forced feeding of detainees is a form of abuse and must end," it said.