Guards open fire at hunger-striking prisoners at Guantanamo


Security guards at the infamous Guantanamo Bay prison opened fired at prisoners on hunger-strike, international media reported.

According to a US army spokesperson  the move came after detainees covered surveillance cameras and windows.

He said some prisoners used “improvised weapons” and in response “four less-than-lethal rounds” were fired.

The Pentagon says 43 prisoners are on hunger strike, but lawyers for the detainees say the number is higher.

Almost a dozen are being force-fed and their injuries were “minor” , according to military officials.

Lawyers for some of the detainees condemned the camp authorities’ actions. Carlos Warner, who represents several detainees, told AP that “the military is escalating the conflict”.

Detainees’ frustration

Hunger strikes have happened frequently at the US military prison, but this protest, which began in February, is reportedly one of the longest and most widespread.

However, Guantanamo officials deny claims that the strike began after copies of the Koran were mishandled during searches of prisoners’ cells.

Human rights groups and lawyers representing the prisoners say it reflects growing frustration at the US military’s failure to decide the detainees’ future.

Nearly 100 of the detainees have been reportedly cleared for release but remain at the facility because of Congressional restrictions and also concerns of possible mistreatment if they are sent back to their home countries. Human rights organizations say the prisoners were picked up illegally in the first place, and the US is breaking international as well as national laws by holding the prisoners without due process.

The military detention centre opened in 2002 to hold suspects captured in counter-terrorism operations after the 11 September 2001 attacks in the US.