Guantanamo detainee says prison ‘shakedown’ sparked hunger strike

The Los Angeles Times reports: Obaidullah, an Afghan villager captured with diagrams of improvised bombs, has marked nearly 11 years as a detainee at the U.S. naval base on Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Three months ago, outraged by what he called another prison “shakedown,” he joined a hunger strike there, and now is locked in solitary confinement with at least 100 fellow detainees.

“I have seen men who are on the verge of death being taken away to be force-fed,” Obaidullah said in a federal court affidavit declassified Friday. “I have also seen some men coughing up blood, being hospitalized, losing consciousness, becoming weak and fatigued.”

His observations are the most extensive yet by a detainee about conditions at the military prison and what prompted the hunger strike. He and others tell of a Feb. 6 search when guards confiscated toiletries, family pictures and copies of the Koran. For the detainees, the trigger was “U.S. soldiers rifling through the pages of many Korans and handling them roughly.”

Military officials said about four dozen doctors and nurses had been deployed to Guantanamo Bay to help the detainees stay alive and maybe start eating again. And Col. John Bogdan, who runs the prison, recently told reporters that the raid, which he defended, unearthed contraband including crudely fashioned weapons made out of mop handles. [Continue reading…]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email