Emergency Motion: US Denying Gitmo Detainees Water

Hunger Strikers 'Punished' by Losing Access to Water

US officials have been desperate to stifle reports of a massive hunger strike among detainees at Guantanamo Bay, and the latest tactic, having failed in their attempts to simply deny it, is to punish the strikers.

An emergency motion has been filed in a DC court by lawyers for the detainees, claiming that the military is now denying the detainees clean drinking water to punish them for refusing to eat provided meals.

The military has so far refused to respond to the motion, but insists that the claims of insufficient water are untrue. The motion warns some detainees are already experiencing kidney problems from lack of water.

Over 100 detainees are believed to be on strike. The military initially insisted it was only nine, but is now conceding to 31 “official” strikers. They argue that many of the others are secretly eating snacks when no one is looking and aren’t recognized strikers.

Even if the allegations of denying water as a form of punishment are confirmed, it isn’t clear that the US court system can force the military to do anything to stop it, since Guantanamo is mostly run extra-legally in the first place, and the Obama Administration has followed the Bush Administration in claiming that anything that happens there is outside of the courts’ jurisdiction.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.