Last weekend’s violent crackdown on Guantanamo Bay detainees has removed all pretense that hunger strikers could be “cheating” when the Pentagon isn’t looking, and it is perhaps no surprise that since then the number of “confirmed” hunger strikers has soared, with officials now admitting that over half of the prison’s population, 84 of 166, are refusing all food.
The hunger strikes began in early February after officials seized a number of Qurans on suspicion of being “contraband.” Despite claims of over 100 strikers, the Pentagon has long insisted that only a handful of them are actually not eating.
Now, officials admit that 17 strikers are being force-fed, and five have been hospitalized, though they insist none of their lives are in jeopardy.
Fainting from hunger is now routine in the prison, and Shaker Aamer, a hunger striker who was cleared for release six years ago but who seemingly will never actually be let go, reports that many of the detainees are in failing health now.
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