Gitmo: harsh conditions, hunger strike reported
Defense lawyers for detainees held at Guantánamo Bay and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) sent a letter (PDF) to Rear Admiral John Smith Jr. describing harsh conditions faced by the detainees and indicated that the detainees have begun to protest the conditions, including participating in a hunger strike. The letter alleged that "camp authorities have been confiscating detainees' personal items, including blankets, sheets, towels, mats, razors, toothbrushes, books, family photos, religious CDs, and letters, including legal mail; and restricting their exercise, seemingly without provocation or cause."
They further allege that searches of their Korans have been conducted in a desecrating manner. As a result of these and other practices, the detainees have begun to protest, including through a hunger strike which is in its third week. The letter indicates that some of the detainees are suffering health consequences as a result of the protests. The lawyers called on Smith, the commanding officer of the facility, to address the concerns listed and to respond with a description of the policy changes. The lawyers learned of these practices and protests after being permitted to visit the detention center by a judge in February.
From Jurst, March 7. Used with permission.