GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba – International Red Cross delegates began inspecting conditions at the Guantanamo prison camps on Saturday, as the U.S. military said the number of hunger strikers had reached 100.
The detention center, which has been open for 11 years, now holds 166 men, most without charge.
One-fifth of the hunger strikers were being force-fed nutritional supplements through feeding tubes, said Army Lt. Col. Samuel House, a prison camps spokesman.
Five of the 20 men being force fed were hospitalized, although none “currently have any life-threatening conditions,” House said by email from the remote base in southeast Cuba.
In Washington, International Red Cross spokesman Simon Schorno said five delegates arrived Friday at the Navy base for a “an ad-hoc assessment visit” now that the majority of captives are in single-cell lockdown. One delegate is a physician, he said, declining to identify the nationalities of any of the team members.
The prison camps in Cuba have been wracked by hunger strikes from the earliest days. The most sustained, widespread known hunger strike took place in 2005 when, according to House, “we had a detainee population of 575 detainees with 142 detainees choosing to hunger strike in July.”
McClatchy-Tribune, Associated Press