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Gitmo hunger strike gains momentum

[JURIST] The number of detainees on a hunger strike at the Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] terror detention camp has increased to at least 128, a US military spokesman said Monday. Eighteen detainees are being force-fed intravenously as the hunger strike enters its second month [JURIST report] and are reported to be in serious physical danger. An earlier hunger strike in June and July ended once a number of detainees were promised that their living quarters would improve [JURIST report] in line with the Geneva Conventions [ICRC backgrounder]. The detainees are refusing food to protest their long imprisonment without charges, lack of due process and beatings received by military personnel. Most claim that they were captured by mistake by US forces. Lawyers for the prisoners say that over 200 detainees are currently refusing food, and report that some of their clients have vowed to die, with many already having been taken to hospital. Maj. Jeffrey J. Weir said that accounts are exaggerated, and that there are no detainees in danger of dying because of the military's force-feeding treatment. Weir did not acknowledge that the detainees were protesting poor conditions or beatings and said that it is his understanding that the detainees are merely trying to call attention to their "continued detention." Last week, a federal appeals court suggested that US courts might review military tribunal determinations [JURIST report] that Gitmo detainees are "enemy combatants" subject to indefinite detention without charge Tuesday's Washington Post has more.

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