America had almost forgotten. Despite the promise made in 2008 by U.S. President Barack Obama to close the Guantanamo prison, 166 prisoners are still held on the Delta naval base located on an American enclave in Cuba. Since the start of February 6th hunger strike widely followed, these men recalled the good memories of the U.S. administration. After trying to minimize movement, this ad? be recognize, Sunday, April 21, its extent: at least 84 prisoners – even according to lawyers – have stopped eating to protest against their conditions of detention as well as against arbitrariness that keeps imprisoned for eleven years.
Read the editorial in Le Monde: Guantanamo: Obama has not kept his word
Since the opening of the prison in January 2002, in the wake of the attacks of 11 September 2001, 779 prisoners from 48 countries were imprisoned, most without charge or trial. The administration of George W. Bush, then in power, had invented for them a “legal” category against all conventions and to a deprivation of liberty without end “unlawful enemy combatant.” Eleven years after the opening of “Gitmo”, only nine inmates were convicted or prosecuted.
Camps V and VI based Delta, the 166 detainees have been waiting eleven years widely advertise the fate that awaits them. They saw from since 2002, 604 inmates, transferred to their countries of origin or third countries. Among those who remain are 92 Yemenis, 21 Afghans, 14 Saudis, six Pakistanis and 42 prisoners of various origins. A handful of them, including those considered “high value” are held in the high security area of ??Camp V. Other, forming the majority of prisoners – 130 according to one estimate – live in the camp VI. They pose no discipline problems, do not represent a particular risk for terrorism and have no “value” in terms of information.
See the special report on the Guantanamo detainees in the New York Times with a detailed assessment of imprisonment and transfers
Some 89 men are considered “deliverable” by the military authorities, and therefore “transferable” in their country of origin. But they are deprived of their liberty because of the blocking of the U.S. Congress. On 20 May 2009, it refused to unlock the envelope 80 million provided to transfer prisoners, and in December 2010, a new law prohibits the transfer of the territory of the United States of prison inmates .
Their heart tee, Europeans have made little effort to accommodate the ex-Guantanamo detainees who were entitled to settle on the Old Continent. Nationals of countries of the Greater Middle East, they know that, back home, they often risk the worst.
The strike of desperation
Faced with a situation become inextricable, despair has grown cro? Be in Guantanamo prisoners. To date, nine inmates committed suicide at Guantanamo. The last of them, the Yemeni Fahran Adnan Abdul Latif – “number 156″ – was found unconscious in his cell at Camp V, the victim of a drug overdose in September 2012.
Prison authorities have tried to alleviate the growing plight of prisoners in improving their conditions of detention. In Camp VI, a group camp, prisoners have been allowed more time to attend to all kinds of activities with their prisoners. This freedom of action, according to the authorities, gradually made the uncontrollable situation? Lable in the camp. On February 6, a search set fire to the powder and started a hunger strike among prisoners.
This “hunger strike was precipitated by repeated searches of Korans inmates who have been lost? Ues as a religious desecration, and searches and confiscation of personal effects, such as letters and family photos or mail their lawyers, apparently without reason or provocation, “justified March 14 lawyers of detainees to the U.S. defense secretary, Chuck Hagel. They believe that these excavations have occurred “in the context of regressive practices in recent months, marking a return to the old era of Guantanamo” that held it as “abuse”.
Since then, the movement gained momentum. In response to a routine search, the hunger strike is passed to the expression of despair held end, exhausted from not knowing anything about their fate, having lost all hope of getting out of “Gitmo”, argue their lawyers. “The government has no plans to close Guantanamo and has no idea how to do it,” complained Omar Farah, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR, Center for Constitutional Rights), which defends many men imprisoned in Guantanamo.
THE METHODS prison authorities denounced
The reaction of the prison authorities face the protest has been criticized. On April 13, a sixty prisoners were transferred to Camp VI common cells into individual cells, after the intervention of the military guards led them to take non-lethal bullets to control? L a revolt of prisoners. They are since allowed to leave their cells for two hours a day. Some have assured, through their lawyers, have been force-fed, or prevented from praying and sleeping or receiving water.
Read (in subscribers edition): ‘Releasable’ since 2007, a Guantanamo detainee request asylum in France
Some of the hunger strikers were subjected to sessions of “gavage” forced practiced by the prison authorities to prevent the movement turns to “suicide.” In its report, the Constitution Project organization condemned the “force-feeding”, saying it is “a form of abuse that must end.” The strikers are force-fed by tubes inserted through the nose and connected directly to the stomach.
Lt. Col. Samuel House, spokesman for the U.S. military prison, admitted April 21 that 16 of the 84 hunger strikers are being force-fed. Five of them were hospitalized but are not “in danger,” he said.
Read also: Whistleblower, approximations investigations load Guantanamo
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