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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 24, 2013
4:58 PM

CONTACT: Gitmo Solidarity Coalition

Andrés Thomas Conteris – 202-232-1999; andres@CloseGitmo.net
Amutabi Haines – 510-274-3874; amutabi@CloseGitmo.net

Nasal Tube-Feeding & Rally in front of Oakland office of CDCR

OAKLAND - September 24 - Gitmo Solidarity Coalition organizer Andrés Thomas Conteris — on day 80 of his fast in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners in Guantánamo and Pelican Bay (the latter of whom recently suspended their hunger strike on Sept 5 after 60 days).  He will undergo a nasogastric intubation and feeding in front of the State of California Office Building in Oakland, headquarters for the Bay Area CDCR, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation on Wednesday, September 25 from 10am-11am

This action will underscore the brutality of force-feeding, to which dozens of men at Guantánamo have been subjected since beginning a new hunger strike last February to protest their indefinite detention and the continuing existence of the prison.  More than three months after President Obama’s renewed pledge to shut down the detention camp at Guantanamo, only two detained men have been released.

"Force-feeding is torture," says Conteris, a 52-year-old man from California who has lost 56 pounds (losing 5 lbs./week) since starting his strike on July 8th, when prisoners in Pelican Bay, CA, started theirs. "I wish to make visible what the U.S. government is perpetrating against Gitmo hunger striking prisoners twice daily and that the State of California has a judge's order authorizing them to torture their prisoners with force-feeding should they recommence another hunger strike.”

"Indefinite detention, prolonged solitary confinement, and force-feeding," says CodePink co-founder, Medea Benjamin, “are all ways our government brutalizes people at the State and Federal levels. They must stop, and Guantánamo must close."

Conteris began his fast the same day prisoners at Pelican Bay, California and elsewhere in the state began a hunger strike to protest the use of extended solitary confinement and indefinite detention in the Security Housing Units (SHUs) of CA prisons. On September 5, 2013, the prisoners in Pelican Bay and other facilities suspended their 60-day hunger strike, after achieving increased public attention to the practice of solitary confinement and pledges from California lawmakers to hold hearings on conditions in the state’s prisons.  Their 5 Core Demands remain firm in spite of suspending the hunger strike.
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Gitmo Solidarity Coalition is a collaborative effort of individuals and organizations coming together to increase the power of our shared struggle to repudiate the practice of U.S.-sanctioned torture at all levels. Our focus is to close Guantánamo and to support the core demands of the Pelican Bay prisoners and other prisoners on hunger strike with them. We seek to strengthen collaboration among all groups and individuals who share our goals and to maximize our mission bringing justice and human rights to victims of torture.

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