banner6

US Straps Down Guantanamo Hunger Strikers

Hunger-striking prisoners at the notorious US Guantanamo detention camp were strapped into restraint chairs for hours by US jailers to force-feed them and were isolated in cold cells, a leading US newspaper unveiled on Thursday, February 9.

US Straps Down Guantanamo Hunger Strikers

American jailers have begun in recent weeks strapping recalcitrant prisoners into "restraint chairs", sometimes for hours, to force-feed them through tubes and prevent them from deliberately vomiting afterwards, The New York Times reported citing officials.

Detainees who refused to eat have also been put in isolation for long periods, in highly air-conditioned cells and have been deprived of such comforts as blankets and books, it added.

The US has been holding for years more than 500 prisoners at Guantanamo, most of them were detained in Afghanistan after US-led troops invaded the country and ousted the Taliban regime in late 2001.

Detainees staged a round of hunger strikes in August to protest their indefinite detention at the infamous camp.

The number of the hunger-strikers peaked on September 11, marking the fourth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, when 131 prisoners took part in the strike.

Pentagon documents indicated that only 45 percent of the detainees had committed some hostile acts against the US and its allies, according to a study released on Wednesday, February 8.

It also showed that only 8 per cent of Guantanamo detainees were Al-Qaeda fighters.

"Disgrace"

Wilner criticized the use of force and "the most brutal and inhumane types of treatment" against the strikers.

Thomas B. Wilner, a lawyer at Shearman & Sterling in Washington, lashed out at the practice.

"It is clear that the government has ended the hunger strike through the use of force and through the most brutal and inhumane types of treatment," he told the Times.

"It is a disgrace," added Wilner, who last week visited the six Kuwaiti detainees he represents.

Officials said that the force-feeding of the Guantanamo hunger strikers reflected concern at the detention camp and the Pentagon that the detainee protests were becoming difficult to control.

They fear that the death of one or more detainees could intensify international rebukes of the detention center.

Until Wednesday, February 8, Guantanamo officials had acknowledged only having forcibly restrained hunger-striking prisoners to feed them a handful of times.

They said that doctors had restrained detainees on hospital beds using Velcro straps.

Tom Hogan, the manufacturer of the so-called Emergency Restraint Chair, told the Times that his Iowa company shipped five $1,150 chairs to Guantanamo on December 5 and 20 additional chairs on January 10.

Once calling the detention camp the "gulag of our time," Amnesty International said in a recent report that Guantanamo has become a "symbol of abuse and represents a system of detention that is betraying the best US values."

Chief among the Guantanamo critics are former US presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, who both called on the Bush administration to shut down the prison to demonstrate to the world America's commitment to human rights.

In 2004, the Human Rights Watch issued a report entitled "The Road To Abu Ghraib" linking the abuse of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo to the policies adopted by Bush in his so-called war on terror. 

Source: Islamonline.net

Last Mod: 00 0000, 00:00
Add Comment