Guantánamo Bay: Hunger strike, reaction to fresh reports of cruelty

Responding to an article in today's New York Times about an ongoing hunger strike at the US detention centre in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, Amnesty International has issued a call for international medical experts to be allowed to visit the hunger strikers.

The organisation also renewed its call on the US authorities to move to close the camp and either try or release all detainees.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

These fresh reports concerning the cruel treatment of hunger strikers are disturbing and just underline the need for an immediate resolution of Guantánamo Bay.

After four years Guantánamo is still closed to Amnesty International and the secrecy surrounding the camp makes the hunger strike a particularly frightening phenomenon. The world knows very little about what is actually happening, to whom and with what degree of consent?

The US authorities should immediately allow independent doctors to visit prisoners at Guantánamo and meanwhile move to close the camp - either releasing prisoners or arranging for proper trials on the US mainland.

Earlier this week Amnesty International published a new report on the impact of detentions on the estimated 500 Guantánamo detainees and their families across the world.

The report outlined the physical and emotional toll on detainees - including suicides and mental illness - and the emotional suffering of relatives unable to visit or gain information about prisoners and their welfare.

Though there are no UK nationals currently held at Guantánamo there are believed to be nine long-term residents of the UK imprisoned, many of these with relatives also in the UK.

These include people recognised as refugees by the UK authorities, including Omar Deghayes, a 35-year-old Libyan national who has been imprisoned at Guantánamo for over three years.

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