US opposes Guantanamo contacts

The US government has told a judge that suspects on hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, should not be allowed to speak, in person or even by telephone, to relatives and friends because of the security risks such contacts would pose.

    At least 500 men are behing held indefinitely in Guantanamo Bay

    As of late on Thursday, 24 detainees were rejecting food and drink, said Terry Henry, a lawyer for the US Justice Department.

    Seven had been hospitalised and were being force-fed through nose-to-stomach tubes. Some of the other 17 detainees also were not eating or drinking, but were in a special cell block and were not yet being fed against their will, he said.

    Julia Tarver, the lawyer for a group of 10 Saudi Arabian detainees, said 20-30 suspects were being force-fed.

    Lawyers also appeared in court on behalf of five detainees from Yemen and one from Qatar.

    At Guantanamo Bay, the US military holds about 500 detainees suspected of links to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network or Afghanistan's ousted Taliban government.

    Dogged protest

    The hunger strikers have pledged to starve themselves to death unless they are released or brought to trial. Their lawyers said the detainees might be persuaded by relatives or friends to resume eating and drinking.

    But Henry told US District Judge Gladys Kessler that a relative tried to have a lawyer bring into the facility a DVD that named various people who had died or were in jail. That raised concerns about whether some message was being sent.

    "There are all kinds of security issues there," he said. Henry also suggested the government did not have the resources to monitor detainee telephone calls.

    Lawyers for the hunger strikers also are seeking more frequent access to their clients and copies of their medical records. The lawyers alleged inhumane and cruel treatment at the camp. Some of the detainees have been fasting since 8 August.

    Kessler, who at times sounded sceptical of both sides' arguments during questioning, adjourned the emergency hearing without saying when she would issue a decision.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    The US exaggerating and obsessing about foreign threats seems quite similar to what is happening in Russia.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months