An unknown number of Guantánamo detainees
Detainees at Guantánamo participating in the hunger strike are reported to
been placed into isolation, strapped into restraint chairs, been subjected
painful force-feeding methods and deprived of "comfort items" such as
Kuwaiti national Fawzi al-Odah told his lawyer that on 11 January 2006 he
his hunger strike after being threatened with force-feeding using a thick
with a metal edge whilst restrained. He says that the previous day he had
the screams of a detainee in an adjacent room being force-fed in this manner
and that he had also heard a doctor tell this detainee, "I have to do this,
have to cause you pain." The detainee who was force-fed later advised Fawzi
al-Odah that he should eat voluntarily so as not to experience the pain.
Lawyers for other detainees have told Amnesty International that the hunger
strikers have been moved into isolation in cold rooms, strapped into
chairs and deliberately force-fed too much food, causing them extreme pain
in some cases, diarrhoea. Many of the hunger strikers were forced to submit
this process several times a day.
Fawzi al-Odah has said that some of those detainees were forced to urinate
defecate on themselves because they remained strapped to the restraint
Some are also said to have vomited blood. As a result of these force-feeding
methods the numbers participating in the hunger strike is believed to have
dropped dramatically. Of the long-term hunger strikers, only three or four
thought to be continuing, although some reports suggest that a number of
detainees have now joined the hunger strike to protest against the
force-feeding methods. Fawzi al-Odah's lawyer has stated that "it is clear
the government has ended the hunger strike through the use of force and
the most brutal and inhumane types of treatment."
A Pentagon spokesperson has said that force-feeding is being carried out in
humane and compassionate manner" and was used only when necessary to keep
detainees alive. Twenty-five "Emergency Restraint Chairs" are reported to
been sent to Guantánamo between 5 December 2005 and 10 January 2006.
Detainees at Guantánamo began the current hunger strike in August 2005. They
are demanding for their rights under international law to be respected, and
be released if they are not charged and given a fair trial. They have also
requested that organizations such as Amnesty International be permitted to
visit them. Some have expressed their determination to continue the hunger
strike until death.
Amnesty International neither opposes nor recommends forcible feeding of
prisoners on hunger strike. However, if forcible feeding is done in such a
as deliberately to cause suffering, Amnesty International considers that
may constitute torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. The
Special Rapporteur on torture has declared that if the reports about the
force-feeding methods being used at Guantánamo are true, then it would
to cruel treatment.
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