The official number of the detainees on hunger strike at the United States’ notorious Guantanamo Bay prison has reached 100, according to a US official.
Spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Samuel House said on Saturday that 100 of the 166 prisoners at the US prison in Cuba are now on strike. He added that 19 captives are being force - fed via tubes snaked up their nose and into their stomach; and five have been hospitalized. The detainees are on hunger strike to protest against their imprisonment without charge or trial for more than a decade, and the conditions at the jail.
Lawyers for the detainees contest the official numbers, and state that the US military is undercounting the number of hunger strikers. They say that some 130 prisoners are actually taking part in the hunger protest.
Most of the 166 detainees being held at the Guantanamo Bay prison have been cleared for release or were never charged - a situation that has attracted outcry from certain countries and human right organizations. “The illegal detentions without charge or trial at Guantanamo Bay have gone on for more than a decade with no end in sight, so it’s not surprising that detainees feel desperate, ” Laura Pitter, a counterterrorism advisor at Human Rights Watch, recently said in a statement. The Constitution Project, a non - profit think tank in the United States that builds bipartisan consensus on significant constitutional and legal questions, concluded in a recent report that the “forced feeding of detainees[at Guantanamo prison] is a form of abuse and must end. ” International Committee of the Red Cross President Peter Maurer has urged US President Barack Obama’s administration to mend the situation in Guantanamo and criticized force - feeding as a solution to the hunger strike. " If we see a hunger strike today, we interpret this as a symptom, as an indicator about the lack of perspective that those detainees have, the impression of an American government which does not follow up on promises, promises that have been made on transfers, " Maurer said at a news conference on April 11. Upon taking office, Obama signed an executive order to stop military commissions in order to close down the Guantanamo prison by 2010. However, this has not happened yet.