Obama addresses Gitmo hunger strike

US President Barack Obama on April 30 renewed his pledge to make an effort to close the detention center at Guantánamo Bay. At a news conference, Obama was asked about the ongoing hunger strike, now involving 100 of the 166 detainees. He responded, "Well, it is not a surprise to me that we've got problems in Guantánamo, which is why when I was campaigning in 2007 and 2008, and when I was elected in 2008, I said we need to close Guantánamo. I continue to believe that we've got to close Guantánamo." He went on to say:

Now, Congress determined that they would not let us close it—and despite the fact that there are a number of the folks who are currently in Guantanamo who the courts have said could be returned to their country of origin or potentially a third country. I'm going to go back at this. I've asked my team to review everything that's currently being done in Guantanamo, everything that we can do administratively. And I'm going to reengage with Congress to try to make the case that this is not something that's in the best interest of the American people. And it's not sustainable.

Rights groups, such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) welcomed the president's statement. Also April 30, a spokesperson for the UN human rights office said that the force-feeding of detainees violates international law.

From Jurist, May 1. Used with permission.

Ramadan force-feeding at Gitmo

Utterly grotesque. From AtlanticWire, July 2:

The United States military will likely show its benevolence toward the Guantanamo Bay detainees it's holding in perpetuity and will only force-feed the hunger strikers at night out of respect for Ramadan. Currently 106 of the 166 detainees are on hunger strike, and 44 of them are twice daily strapped into a chair while a tube is threaded through their noses into their stomachs to prevent them from escaping detention through suicide. In a motion filed Sunday night, four Algerian men asked federal court to stop the force feeding, the Miami Herald's Carol Rosenberg explains, and judges gave the government till Wednesday at noon to respond. Ramadan starts July 8, and if the court can't decide by then, the men ask the judges "at a minimum, to enjoin any force-feeding between sunup and sundown during the month of Ramadan."