- Created: Wednesday, 23 September 2009 14:33
- Written by Hannah Caller
Up to 250 detainees in Guantanamo Bay have been on hunger strike on and off since August. These emaciated weak prisoners are still undergoing cruel and unusual punishment at the hands of their captors, and are being force-fed while their charges are invented and their recourse to legal advice blocked. Thomas Wilner, a lawyer who has visited the camps, reports cadaverous men who have lost over three stone in weight. They are traumatised and severely distressed. In mid-October there were 21 detainees in hospital, with 20 being force-fed. The US Department of Defense refuses to name them or tell their lawyers. Force-feeding involves deliberately inserting large tubes down the noses of restrained prisoners – the same tube is used for many different detainees.
In early November, the US Senate approved a proposal which will severely limit the chance of the detainees’ cases ever coming before US courts. In mid-November, UN representatives refused to visit Guantanamo Bay because the US authorities will not allow them access to the detainees in private.
The US has detained more than 80,000 people in prisons and camps from Afghanistan to occupied Cuba since September 2001. At least 14,500 people are in US custody in connection with the so-called war on terror. The British government is hiding reports that the CIA is landing detainees in Britain en route to its torture camps all over the world. CIA planes are also landing in Spain, Portugal, Norway, Sweden and Iceland. An investigation is underway to determine whether the European countries involved are aware of the purpose of such flights.
Torture similar to that used in Abu Ghraib has been going on in occupied Guantanamo for over four years. This shocking abuse of human rights, committed directly by the US and indirectly supported by Britain and the EU, is part and parcel of the attack on civil liberties in imperialist nations.
Those of us who can must speak out on the side of the detainees and their families. Everyone who understands the significance of the Cuban Revolution and what it means today for the Cuban people and the poor and oppressed around the world must be part of a campaign to put a stop to the term ‘Guantanamo Bay in Cuba’. The camps are a war crime committed by the US, opposed by Cuba.
FRFI 188 December 2005 / January 2006