[Ppnews] Guantanamo Bay Hunger Strike: Inmates Protest After Guards Allegedly Desecrate Qurans

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Mar 14 16:26:24 EDT 2013

/*2 Articles Follow*/

*Guantanamo Bay Hunger Strike: Inmates Protest After Guards Allegedly 
Desecrate Qurans*
By Ashley Portero <http://www.ibtimes.com/reporters/ashley-portero> | 
March 14 2013 10:25 AM

More than 100 Guantanamo Bay detainees have launched a hunger strike to 
protest the desecration of their personal effects, including Qurans, a 
step the prisoners are reportedly taking to bring attention to the 
worsening conditions at the U.S. facility in Cuba.

Pardiss Kebriaei, a lawyer representing Yemeni detainee Ghaleb 
Al-Bihani, told Agence France-Presse 
  most of the detainees in Camp 6 of the prison are entering the third 
week of the fast. But the Center for Constitutional Rights states the 
strike may have started as long as five weeks ago.

Camp 6 houses about 130 of the 155 detainees who are still incarcerated 
in the U.S. military detention facility. Those men, who typically are 
not regarded as high-risk, are held in a different part of the prison 
from higher-profile prisoners, such as 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh 
Mohammed. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khalid_Sheikh_Mohammed>

Kebriaei, who is based in New York City, says her client has lost more 
than 20 pounds since beginning the strike, and has been told his health 
is being seriously threatened because he is a diabetic. Another lawyer, 
Barry Wingard, told AFP three of his clients are currently abstaining 
from food, one of whom reportedly lost 26 pounds in three-and-a-half weeks.

Prison officials say reports of the strike are being blown out of 
proportion. Robert Durand, director of public affairs for the Joint Task 
Force Guantanamo, said at least five of the inmates are being fed 
through tubes inserted into their stomachs, meaning they are receiving 
adequate nutrition. Others have apparently been able to somehow keep 
private food in their cell.

"Refusing delivered food does not make a detainee a hunger striker, not 
eating does," Durand said. "Detainees or an entire cell block may refuse 
to take any of the fresh, hot meals delivered, but we observe them 
eating from the ample amounts of food they have in the cell block."

But according to the Center for Constitutional Rights, the situation is 
"rapidly deteriorating" and is reaching a critical level for some of the 

"We have received reports of men coughing blood, being hospitalized, 
losing consciousness, becoming weak and fatigued," the CCR wrote 
in a letter to the commander of Guantanamo, Rear Adm. John Smith.

The CCR also says it has receives reports of prison employees 
mishandling copies of the Quran and displaying "disrespectful" behavior 
during Islamic prayer times.

The detention camp was opened in 2002 to house prisoners detained during 
the George W. Bush's "War on Terror" following the 2001 terrorist 
attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.

There have been multiple hunger strikes held in the facility to protest 
what some say are inhumane conditions. Only a handful of the detainees 
who remain at the facility have been formally charged with a crime.

Eighty-seven prisoners were cleared for release in 2009, but are still 
being held, at a cost of $69 million, according to the American Civil 
Liberties Union. 
<http://www.aclu.org/national-security/guantanamo-numbers> Approximately 
92 percent of the 779 prisoners who have been incarcerated since 2002 
were never al Qaeda fighters, according to U.S. government records.

Forty-six of the prisoners, deemed "enemy combatants" by the federal 
government, are slated for indefinite detention. The CCR reports they 
can neither be released nor prosecuted.

Seven detainees have committed suicide, the youngest of whom was 
captured at age 16 and died at 21.

Most of the Guantanamo prisoners hail from either Afghanistan, Saudi 
Arabia or Yemen. To see a full list of past and present detainees who 
have been identified, as well as their nationalities, click here. 

*Source URL:* 

*International Human Rights Body Holds Hearing on Unfolding Humanitarian 
Crisis at Guantánamo*

*As Detained Men Enter Fifth Week of Hunger Strike in Peaceful Protest 
of 11 Years Detention, U.S. Officials Face Questions About Guantánamo 
for First Time Since Obama Re-Election*

press at ccrjustice.org

/March 12, 2013, Washington D.C./--- Today, the Center for 
Constitutional Rights provided expert testimony at a thematic hearing 
about the unfolding humanitarian crisis at Guantánamo before the 
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), a body of the 
Organization of American States (OAS). The hearing took place in 
response to CCR's request to the Commission, filed on January16, 2013 
with co-petitioners at the Center for Justice and International Law 
(CEJIL), Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), and Reprieve. It marked the 
first time since President Obama's re-election that U.S. officials were 
confronted with questions about Guantánamo and its future in a formal 
public setting.

"Today's hearing at the IACHR came at a critical moment in Guantánamo's 
troubled history," said Omar Farah, Staff Attorney at the Center for 
Constitutional Rights. "Our clients report that most of the men at the 
prison are now in the fifth week of a mass hunger strike to peacefully 
protest worsening prison conditions, religious provocation, and the 
crushing reality that after 11 years in indefinite detention, there is 
no end in sight to their suffering. In light of the humanitarian crisis 
unfolding at Guantanamo, it is indefensible that the U.S. government 
failed to answer the Commission's simple questions about how it plans to 
close the prison camp."
At the IACHR hearing, CCR and other experts testified on issues 
including the grave psychological impact of indefinite detention, the 
deaths of men at Guantánamo, the lack of access to fair trials, and 
illegitimate U.S. policies that restrict the closure of the prison, 
including the blanket ban on repatriating Yemeni men. They also 
requested that the Commission:

    * reiterate that the United States must close down the detention
      center at Guantánamo without further delay,
    * issue a report on the ongoing human rights violations at
      Guantánamo that acknowledges the physical and psychological impact
      of indefinite detention without charge or trial, and
    * renew its request to the United States government to allow the
      Commission to visit the detention center, with full access to the
      detained men.

To read the full submission the Center for Constitutional Rights and 
co-petitioners filled for this hearing, see the documents listed at the 
bottom of CCR's IACHR thematic hearing page 
<http://www.ccrjustice.org/IACHRHearingGTMO>. Also see 11 Years and 
Counting: Profiles of Men Detained at Guantánamo 
to read CCR's new report on detained men, part of its submission to the 
IACHR. Lastly, note that CCR has also filed two separate petitions at 
the IACHR. One concerns two men who died while in U.S. custody at 
Guantánamo, about which you can learn more on CCR's Al-Zahrani v. 
Rumsfeld case page 
The other concerns CCR client Djamel Ameziane, an Algerian man who has 
been cleared for release and who urgently needs to be resettled to a new 
and safe home where he can rebuild his life. Learn more on CCR's Djamel 
Ameziane's case page <http://ccrjustice.org/Ameziane>.

/The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) has //led/ /the legal battle 
over Guantánamo for the last 11 years -- representing clients in two 
Supreme Court cases and organizing and coordinating hundreds of pro bono 
lawyers across the country to represent the men at Guantánamo, ensuring 
that nearly all have the option of legal representation. Among other 
Guantánamo cases, the Center represents the families of men who died at 
Guantánamo, and men who have been released and are seeking justice in 
international courts./*/

/The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and 
protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and 
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys 
who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit 
legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law 
as a positive force for social change./

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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