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Guantanamo Hunger-Strikers’ Names Censored by US Authorities
WASHINGTON - July 12 - Authorities at Guantanamo Bay have twice censored a list of prisoners on hunger strike, set out by detainee Shaker Aamer in a letter to his lawyers.
Mr Aamer, a British resident from South London, has twice provided his attorneys at human rights charity Reprieve with a list of all of the prisoners who he knows to be currently on hunger-strike, and those who are being force-fed. However, on each occasion in the past month that he has done so, Guantanamo authorities have censored the entire list.
Mr Aamer provides a list of prisoners classified as “1. H.S. (hunger striker) 2.TF (tube feeding) 3. P.H.S. (partly hunger striking) 4. Unk (unknown).” The complete list has been censored by prison authorities.
As well as blocking public release of the lists, JTF Guantanamo staff have engaged in a series of tactics designed to break prisoners' strikes, including gratuitous and humiliating body searches, solitary confinement, and confiscation of prisoners' family and legal mail. The techniques used are detailed in Reprieve's report, Down the tubes: The 2013 Hunger Strike at Guantanamo Bay, published on 10 July.
The Miami Herald has also reported that “Reporters who visit the prison have so far been forbidden to see the twice-daily tube feedings, to test military claims that most captives go willingly and sometimes agreeably chug a can of Ensure instead,” and “photographers can’t show a captive’s face as a condition of access to the camps.”
Commenting, Clive Stafford Smith, Reprieve's Director and lead counsel for Shaker Aamer, said: “What is the US Government trying to hide? This is just one of a host of measures the staff at Guantánamo have engaged in to try to conceal the strike and break the strikers. The reality is, President Obama could start releasing cleared hunger-strikers like Shaker from Guantanamo tomorrow if he had the political courage. He needs only to direct the Secretary of Defense to issue 'waivers' so that cleared men can go home.”