Guantanamo hunger strikers down to 18 from 89: US officials

Guantanamo hunger strikers down to 18 from 89: US officials

[JURIST] The number of Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees on hunger strike decreased from 89 to 18 over the weekend, US military officials said Sunday. The number of detainees on hunger strike suddenly jumped from three to 75 [JURIST report] early last week, with an additional 14 [JURIST report] joining the hunger strike late in the week. Detainees appear to have begun eating again right after the number peaked late last week. Guards at Guantanamo continue to force-feed four of the 18 strikers.

The wave of hunger strikes began last summer [JURIST report] and ballooned up to 131 [JURIST report] strikers by September, but the number was significantly lowered after guards enforced aggressive force-feeding measures [JURIST report]. Navy Cmdr. Robert Durand says the striking detainees are trying to pressure the US into releasing them, a move which Durand states is in line with al Qaeda tactics, while human rights group Amnesty International USA [advocacy website] believes the strikes are an appeal for justice [press release] because the detainees have been held for years at Guantanamo without charge. AP has more.