Most of 166 people housed in Camp 6 of Guantanamo Bay may beinvolved in the strike.”My client and other men have reported that most of thedetainees in Camp 6 are on strike, except for a small few who areelderly or sick,” Pardiss Kebriaei, a New York lawyerrepresenting Yemeni detainee Ghaleb Al-Bihanim, told AFP. Menhave reported coughed up blood, lost consciousness and were forcedto move to other wings of the facility for observation.The first reports of the widespread hunger strike in Guantanamoemerged in early March.The protest was allegedly sparked by interference with theinmates’ personal belongings.“Since approximately February 6, 2013, camp authorities havebeen confiscating detainees’ personal items, including blankets,sheets, towels, mats, razors, toothbrushes, books, family photos,religious CDs, and letters, including legal mail; and restrictingtheir exercise, seemingly without provocation or cause,” theCenter for Constitutional Rights (CCR) said in a March letter tothe US Military.They added that men’s Qurans were confiscated in a “desecrating”manner, and that prayer time was not respected. Most, if not all,of the Guantanamo detainees come from the Middle East, and aredevout Muslims.Prison officials have acknowledged that the hunger strike istaking place. However, they deny that it is a large-scale event:Nine detainees are refusing food, five of whom are being fedthrough tubes inserted into their stomachs, according to RobertDurand, director of public affairs for the Joint Task ForceGuantanamo.Durand also said that the claims of desecration of the Quranwere unfounded.”To be clear: there have been no incidents of desecration ofthe Quran by guards or translators, and nothing unusual happenedduring a routine search for contraband,” he told AFP.Guantanamo Bay is a US Military prison facility opened on thewake of 9/11, as part of the George W. Bush administration’s ‘Waron Terror.’ The prison currently holds 166 people, many of whomhave spent over a decade there without official charges broughtagainst them. Washington has alleged the inmates are terrorists whoplotted or acted against the American people. Guantanamo Bay becamea source of heated public debate after it was revealed that USforces had tortured detainees.Barack Obama promised to close the facility at the beginning ofhis first term as president, but the facility remains open.
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