[Ppnews] US Passes Bill to Block Guantanamo Prison Closure - 1/4 of prisoners now being force-fed
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Jun 7 19:37:53 EDT 2013
USA Passes Bill to Block Guantanamo Prison Closure
Washington, Jun 7
A panel of the U.S. House of Representatives today approved a bill that
would hinder the intentions of President Barack Obama to close the
controversial Guantanamo prison at the Naval Base.
With a 59-2 vote, the Republican majority in the Armed Services
Committee gave the green light to this legislation, which seeks to keep
open the prison and prevents the Defense Department to spend money to
build or modify the country's prisons to relocate the 166 inmates.
That legislation also seeks to prevent the Pentagon to spend funds to
transfer detainees to their countries of origin, however, it authorizes
$ 247 million USD to remodel the military center, installed in that
territory usurped from Cuba more than a century ago.
This initiative will be discussed in the summer by both houses of
Congress for a vote.
Republican lawmakers took that step after Obama had recently insisted in
his claims to close the Guantanamo prison, considered by analysts as a
modern concentration camp.
The President resumed that promise unfulfilled following the
radicalization of a hunger strike that began last February 6 by at least
130 inmates, to protest harsh disciplinary measures, mistreatment and
solitary confinement indefinitely.
Obama also lifted the moratorium on the transfer of prisoners to Yemen
and said that the status of each inmate will be analyzed individually.
United States opened the prison to retain anyone suspected of terrorism
and inmates are mostly Arab citizens who have almost 11 years without
facing specific charges there, isolated from the rest of the world under
an absolute legal helplessness and exposed to degrading forms of torture .
The Guantanamo prison has an annual expenditure of 903,614 USD per
inmate, a budget greater than that assigned to U.S. maximum security
prisons, which annually spend about $ 70,000 USD per detainee.(Prensa
*One-quarter of Gitmo prisoners now being force-fed*
Published time: June 07, 2013 13:50
Guantanamo Bay's medical team is now force-feeding 41 of the 166
prisoners at the US detention facility. With four detainees in hospital,
the strike shows no signs of abating a month after President Obama again
pledged to close the base.
The latest press release from the facility reported the rise in the
number of inmates receiving enteral feeds, up from the previous 39. The
report also claims that the four prisoners currently undergoing
treatment in a detainee hospital are not in critical condition.
The practice of force-feeding the prisoners as a way of avoiding the
political ramifications of their death has been condemned as /"cruel,
inhuman, and degrading treatment,"/ which is illegal under international
Human Rights Watch (HRW) brought the issue to the attention of the US
government back in May in a joint letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck
Hagel. The rights group detailed the demeaning process by which a
detainee is /"strapped into a chair with restraints on his legs, arms,
body, and sometimes head, immobilizing him."/
/ "I can't describe how painful it is to be force-fed this way. As it
was thrust in, it made me feel like throwing up. I wanted to vomit, but
I couldn't. There was agony in my chest, throat and stomach. I had never
experienced such pain before,"/ hunger-striker Samir Naji al Hasan
Moqbel told HRW, relating the horrors of Gitmo's force-feeding room.
President Barack Obama's pledge
<http://rt.com/usa/obama-gitmo-prisoner-transfers-664/> last month to
work to close the facility has apparently fallen by the wayside, with no
steps taken thus far. He also promised to end the ban on sending
prisoners who had been cleared for transfer back to Yemen, one of the
main obstacles impeding the closure of the camp.
On Monday, a Republican representative proposed legislation that would
effectively force Obama to keep the facility open. The wording in the
2014 defense authorization bill also prohibits the transfer of
Guantanamo inmates to the US or countries like Yemen, and would channel
$247.4 million of state funds to constructions costs.
The legislation was slammed by Democrats as /"a ridiculous waste of
money"/ when the US Military is making cuts to its budget.
Pleas falling on deaf ears
The prisoners at Guantanamo published a plea at the end of May for the
physicians overseeing their detention at the camp to be changed. They
argued that the current personnel are not impartial to the wishes of the
The letter was signed by nine of the Gitmo prisoners, as well as the
lawyers of several others.
Prisoners at Guantanamo began their hunger strike four months ago as a
desperate attempt to attract international attention to their plight.
Some of the inmates have been held without a trial for over a decade,
and many have expressed fears they will spend the rest of their lives in
their cells in Guantanamo.
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