Guantanamo fasters force-fed

IssueSeptember 2013
News by David Polden

It was reported on 6 August, that 60 people being held in the United States military’s Guantánamo Bay detention centre were continuing a hunger strike against their continued imprisonment without trial.

The hunger strike has lasted six months and at one point involved over 100 of the 160 detainees. Many hunger strikers have suffered force-feeding, a practice  widely condemned as torture.

The remaining British resident, Shaker Aamer, who has been detained for 11 years, is among the hunger strikers. Like most others he’s been neither charged nor tried and, like 85 others, was ‘cleared for release’ as long ago as 2009.

Supporters in the UK have taken part in week-long solidarity hunger strikes, including his lawyer Clive Stafford Smith.

California über alles

On 19 August, California courts empowered local prison authorities to force-feed over 120 hunger-striking prisoners in four prisons and to override ‘do not resuscitate’ directives signed by many strikers.

The mass hunger strike began on 8 July, involving some 30,000 California prisoners at its peak. The strike was in protest at the cruel and inhumane practices in California prisons, especially long-term solitary confinement in ‘secure housing units’ (SHUs), which currently house about 3,000 inmates, some for over 30 years.