WCW Home News Recent News 6-19-14 Saturday is Day 500 of the Guantanamo prison hunger strike, begun February 2013
6-19-14 Saturday is Day 500 of the Guantanamo prison hunger strike, begun February 2013 PDF Print E-mail

By Debra Sweet

Guantanamo by the numbers

Thanks to Center for Constitutional Rights:

779 men and boys, all of them Muslim, have been imprisoned over time at Guantánamo since January 2002.

86%* were sold to the United States during a time when the U.S. military was offering large bounties for capture; commonly, $5,000 offered per man.

629 men have been transferred.

149 men remain detained. 

88 of them are from Yemen. 

78 have been cleared for release for years but remain imprisoned.

58 of those who are cleared for release are Yemenis, but they continue to be detained because of their citizenship.

There have been 0 transfers to Yemen since June 2010.

*Seton Hall University School of Law, Report on Guantánamo Detainees, 2006.


Reprieve, who is representing prisoner Abu Wa'el Dhiab in a federal lawsuit against the government, to stop its force feeding of prisoners, reports:

Last week, an affidavit from a fellow prisoner, Ahmed Rabbani, revealed that the prison authorities had confiscated Mr Dhiab’s wheelchair and, when he was unable to walk to force-feeding sessions, dragged him forcibly to the feeding chair. Last week, he said, staff beat Mr Dhiab “so badly, he had blood in his faeces. I heard him vomiting for much of the night.” 

It also surfaced that during the same period - and after the judge's order to disclose taped evidence - Guantánamo authorities stopped videotaping forcible cell extractions for what is believed to be the first time in over nine years.

More from Andy Worthington in The Latest News on the Guantanamo Force-Feeding Videotapes, and the Prisoners' Ongoing Legal Challenges.

Our friend L. Michael Hager contributed an excellent New York Times letter to the editor on the force-feedings:

Re “U.S. Judge Decides ‘Anguishing’ Case on Force-Feeding” (front page, May 24):

Americans need to know what is being perpetrated in their name.

Judge Gladys Kessler of Federal District Court, in her decision (reversing an earlier order) regarding the Guantánamo Bay hunger striker Jihad Ahmed Mujstafa Diyab, effectively allowed force-feeding, a painful procedure internationally condemned as torture. To excuse such a procedure as lifesaving ignores a more likely political reason: to keep a prisoner’s starvation from attracting the world’s outrage.

Americans should see force-feeding for what it is: another example of Guantánamo’s shameful abuses.

L. MICHAEL HAGER Eastham, Mass., May 24, 2014

The writer is co-founder and former director general of the International Development Law Organization in Rome.

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