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Guantánamo hunger strike continues

As PN went to press, US military authorities were stepping up their attempts to break the hunger strike of detainees at the Guantánamo Bay detention centre in Cuba.

The hunger strike, which has been running for over 130 days, involves almost two-thirds of the 166 detainees.

Detainee and British resident Shaker Aamer told his lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, director of the legal charity Reprieve, that the authorities were making cells ‘freezing cold’ and using ‘metal-tipped’ feeding tubes to try to break the will of the hunger strikers, according to a report in the Observer on 22 June.

Speaking four months after he joined the hunger strike, Aamer told Smith: ‘The administration is getting ever more angry and doing everything they can to break our hunger strike. Honestly, I wish I was dead.’

Aamer was cleared for release in 2007, but remains at Guantánamo and is one of those being force-fed liquid ‘nutrients.’

On 19 June, more than 150 doctors signed an open letter in the British medical journal The Lancet calling for Guantánamo Bay detainees to receive independent medical care. The letter was initiated by Medact, the anti-war global health charity.

The World Medical Association condemned the force-feeding of hunger strikers in its 1991 ‘Declaration of Malta’ on hunger strikers, calling the process ‘a form of inhuman and degrading treatment.’