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Guantanamo Guards Fire 'Non-Lethal' Rounds at Hunger Strikers
Guards at Guantanamo Bay fired four "non-lethal" rounds at prisoners on Saturday after attempting to force prisoners from communal cellblocks into isolated one-man cells—in an attempt to end an ongoing hunger strike in the secretive prison.
No "serious injuries" have been reported by military officials.
Officials said the prison guards decided to cordon off the prisoners/hunger strikers after the detainees covered windows and surveillance cameras to block the guards' surveillance of their communal cellblocks.
Military officials claim that some of the detainees resisted the sweep with "improvised weapons."
Lawyers representing the hunger striking prisoners say that most of the 166 prisoners being held in Guantanamo are participating in the hunger strike, which began around February 6.
Reportedly at least 11 are now being force fed, according to detention center spokesman Navy Capt. Robert Durand, a process whereby liquid nutrients are forced through tubes inserted into the detainees' noses and down to their stomachs. Many rights groups, including the United Nations Human Rights Commission, consider force-feeding a form of torture.
Lawyers for detainees denounced the prison guard's actions on Saturday, saying the prison commander should have sought to negotiate an end to the hunger strike, instead of taking violent action.
“This is exactly the opposite of what they should be doing,” said Carlos Warner, a federal public defender in Ohio. “Instead, the military is escalating the conflict.”
Of the 166 prisoners that remain in Guantanamo, at least 86 of them have been cleared for release but remain in the prison indefinitely.
"Saturday's early-morning sweep took place in Camp 6, a medium-security building where 80 to 100 detainees lived in cells that open into communal bays where they could eat, pray and watch television together," Reuters reports, wherein, in protest of their indefinite detention, torture, and poor conditions at the facility, the prisoners have been jointly refusing food.