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Guantanamo detainees stage hunger strike to protest confinement conditions

Truthout (Extract)
by Jason Leopold
April 29, 2011

Guantanamo officials told the ten remaining detainees in Camp 1 in February [2011] that they were going to be moved to Camp 5.

"They were told [Camp 5] would be better," said one Guantanamo guard. "They were told they could bring nonessential items they collected. But after they were transferred, those items were confiscated. They were essentially lied to. Overall, they just felt the living conditions were worse at Camp 5." [NOTE]

Being relocated to a new camp meant the detainees were now under the purview of a new camp commander, new guards and new rules. That meant they had to start over as if they had just arrived at Guantanamo.

"The guards were not treating them well when they got to Camp 5," said a military official knowledgeable about the detainees' relocation, who requested anonymity in order to speak openly about the issue. "They were restricted from going outside. Their mail was being opened. They asked that their food not be thrown together. These are the only things they have left to hold on to. This isn't how it was for them at Camp 1."

The detainees protested, but they were ignored. So they stopped eating. The hunger strike lasted about a month.


NOTE: This is a guard that had recently returned from Guantanamo and that the author of the Truthout article interviewed [Jason Leopold, personal communication].

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