Hunger Strike at Gitmo: ‘We Are Dying a Slow Death Here’

End Guantanamo

End Guantanamo (Photo credit: jezobeljones)

Though Moorbey and I do not agree on solutions we do both agree that this government is evil and oppressive. It is time the people find something else other than the system we currently have. Here is another example of that idiocy. The prisoners in Guantanamo need to be sent home. They are not terrorists for the most part. those who are should be charged and tried. Except the US govt. is afraid of the publicity should the people get any further information about the horrors of that place. 

Moorbey’z Blog

Article posted here: http://moorbey.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/hunger-strike-at-gitmo-we-are-dying-a-slow-death-here/

2013/04/14 · by 

By Pardiss Kebriaei April 13, 2013 MSNBC” –  I’ve just returned from Guantanamo, where my clients  and a majority of the other 166 men there have been on hunger strike for over  two months. Most of them have been cleared for release or will never be charged.  But the Obama administration has refused to send them home.

I met with men who are weak  and have lost between 30 and 40 pounds. They told me of other men who are  skeletal and barely moving, who have coughed up blood, passed out, and one who  tried to hang himself.
One of the men I met with,  Sabry Mohammed, a Yemeni who remains detained years after he was approved for  release by the Obama administration, said, “We are dying a slow death here.” Yet  the authorities say they will not let men die–they will force-feed them when  their body weight drops dangerously low, strapping them into chairs and forcing  a tube up their noses that pumps formula into their stomachs. The military  reports that so far, 11 men are being “saved” this way. Yet as one of the men  put it, the irony is that “the government will keep us alive by force-feeding us  but they will let us die by detaining us forever.”
Today, 166 men remain at  Guantanamo, more than eleven years after they arrived in hoods and shackles.  Most are being held without charge and will never be charged. The Obama  administration has approved more than half of the men–86–for transfer, but  hasn’t mustered the political will to overcome congressional hurdles, despite  saying it can and will. As their indefinite detention stretches into a second  decade, men are aging, declining and dying. Last September,Adnan Latif, a  husband and a father, a man twice cleared for transfer under the Bush and Obama  administrations, was the ninth prisoner to die. The current crisis at the base  had specific triggers, but there has been an emergency at Guantanamo for  years.
The strike was sparked in  early February, when prison authorities ordered searches of the men’s Qurans.  One man told me, “I won’t even touch the Quran without washing my hands, how  could I use it to hide something dirty?” The men viewed the searches as  desecration, which should hardly have been news to those in charge. A former  Muslim chaplain at Guantanamo once described the handling of the holy books as  “the most contentious issue” at the prison. Given the sensitivity of the  practice and the history of religious abuse at Guantanamo–acts like throwing  Qurans on the ground and shaving detainees’ beards as punishment–the authorities  should have known better. Indeed, former commanders did know better. In a 2009  review of conditions at Guantanamo, ordered by the Obama administration, a  commander at the base recognized that standard operating procedures “do not  permit searching of the Koran.” The rule reflected an “elevated respect” for  detainees’ religious concerns–a lesson learned from the early years. It is  unclear why that changed. Another of my clients said, “They are taking the camp  back to 2006.”
So far, prison authorities  have defended their actions and downplayed the scale of the strike. Inside the  prison, my clients have described various tactics used to make life even more  difficult and break the strike. Some have been life-threatening, like delaying  the delivery of filtered drinking water, forcing detainees to drink from the tap  of sink faucets attached to toilets in their cells. Before, there used to be  signs above the sinks saying it was not safe to drink the water. One man said he  would rather go without water than drink from the sink.
As the strike enters its third  month and the crisis deepens, the authorities must reach for a resolution before  someone dies. My clients are asking for assurances that their Qurans will not be  searched, or to hand them in altogether rather than see them  desecrated.
But the solution to the  broader calamity is closing Guantanamo, beginning with the release of men like  Sabry. He told me he does not want to die, he wants to return to his family, but  he and others are continuing the strike because they have been pushed too far  and this is the only means they have to protest peacefully. The only thing they  can control is their own bodies. It is an act of strength even as they are  growing weaker. They are desperately wanting to believe there is still a life  for them beyond the prison walls.
At the end of our meeting last  week, Sabry showed me a painting he made recently, of the prison surrounded by  mountains.  But outside the high, tight-mesh fence that encloses Camp 6, where  Sabry is held, there is ocean. “I don’t know what is outside. It is just what I  imagine.”  After more than eleven years, it is long past time for the United  States to send Sabry home.
Pardiss Kebriaei is a  senior attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights who represents men  detained at Guantanamo. She is lead counsel for CCR on the targeted killing  case, Al-Aulaqi v. Panetta.
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