Gitmo Hunger Strike Growing: Detainees Say 130 Taking Part

Military Will Only Recognize 39 'Official' Strikers

by Jason Ditz, April 01, 2013

The hunger strike among detainees at Guantanamo Bay is growing more dire by the day, with a number of the detainees in failing health. It is also growing in sheer size, according to detainee Shaker Aamer.

Aamer, never charged with any wrongdoing and cleared for release twice, in 2007 and 2009, is among the strikers, and according to his lawyer has lost 32 pounds. He told his lawyer that the number of strikers is now 130, the vast majority of the 166 captives still held at the facility.

Gitmo prison spokesman Cap. Robert Durand disputed the account, saying the Pentagon only recognizes 39 “official” strikers. That number has soared in recent weeks as well, though the military maintains that a number of self-professed strikers are “cheating” and sneaking snacks when no one is looking.

Durand also maintains that the prison has enough doctors and nurses to “handle” the situation. The military is force-feeding several prisoners already, and is prepared to deploy more medical personnel if those needs grow.

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