[QODLink]
Archive
Serious turn to Guantanamo protest

A hunger strike by prisoners at the US Guantanamo Bay prison camp has entered a serious stage, the International Committee of the Red Cross says.

Last Modified: 07 Oct 2005 12:29 GMT
Some of the prisoners are said to be force-fed

A hunger strike by prisoners at the US Guantanamo Bay prison camp has entered a serious stage, the International Committee of the Red Cross says.

But ICRC chief spokeswoman Antonella Notari declined to comment on Thursday's statement by a defence lawyer that the hunger strike involved 200 of 500 prisoners and that 21 were being force-fed.

   

The humanitarian agency, which last visited the US naval base in Cuba in late September, was in contact with the US authorities about the situation, Notari said on Friday.

   

"There is a hunger strike, the situation is serious, and we are following it with concern," Notari said.

   

"During our recent 10-day visit we were able to visit the infirmary, see the detainees and speak with them as well as the American authorities," she added.

   

Tokyo declaration

 

"There is a hunger strike, the situation is serious, and we are following it with concern"

Antonella Notari,
Chief ICRC spokeswoman

The ICRC backs a 1975 Tokyo declaration by the World Medical Association stating that doctors should not participate in force-feeding, but keep prisoners informed of the sometimes irreversible consequences of their hunger strike, she added.

   

Amnesty International and human-rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith, representing 40 detainees, said on Thursday that US authorities were keeping 21 alive by forcing food into their stomachs through tubes pushed up their noses.

 

The prisoners are shackled to their beds 24-hours a day to stop them removing the tubes, he said.

 

Force-feeding banned

 

"This is the 56th day of the hunger strike," said Stafford Smith before making a comparison with the Irish republican campaign of 1981, when 10 prisoners starved themselves to death in protest at British policy in Northern Ireland.

   

The US opened the prison camp in January 2002. Many detainees were seized in Afghanistan. Only four have been charged and many have been held for more than three years. Some former prisoners says they were tortured while in Guantanamo.

   

Force-feeding is not banned under international law, but the World Medical Association declaration, endorsed by the American Medical Association, sets guidelines for doctors involved in hunger strikes and says they should not participate in force-feeding.

Source:
Reuters
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
Protests and online activism in recent months have brought a resurgence of ethnic Oromo nationalism in Ethiopia.
Chemotherapy is big business, but some US doctors say it could be overused and are pushing for cheaper and better care.
Amid vote audit and horse-trading, politicians of all hues agree a compromise is needed to avoid political instability.
Part of the joint accord aimed at ending the political impasse establishes an independent National Election Commission.
Rights groups say the US prosecution of terrorism cases targets Muslims and are fraught with abuses.
join our mailing list