The UN human rights office has condemned force-feeding hunger strikers at Guantanamo Bay, calling it ‘torture’ and a breach of international law. At least 21 inmates out of the 100 officially on strike are being force-fed through nasal tubes.
The hunger strike at the Guantanamo Bay jail, US naval base in south-eastern Cuba, is now into its 12th week, with 100 inmates officially out of 166 refusing all food. Lawyers for several of the detainees say that the number of hunger strikers is actually higher than official estimates, raising the number to 130.
Twenty-one of the detainees fasting are being force fed through nasal tube due to their deteriorating health and five hospitalized, according to official estimates as of April 29.
On Tuesday, President Barack Obama, during his first public response to the on-going strike, pledged to engage all efforts to close the prison urging the Congress to help him. He renewed the pledge given during his 2008 presidential campaign, promising to close down the prison in 2009.
While the inmates are protesting their indefinite incarceration without being presented charges, Obama said that the prosecution of terrorists should be getting “wiser.”
The Guantanamo Bay facility was set up by former president George W. Bush to hold those allegedly responsible for the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. However, the detainees accused of terrorism still remain in prison without trial. Only nine have been formally charged or convicted of a criminal offense.