Guantanamo hunger strikers in lockdown after secret, pre-dawn cell raid
U.S. soldiers reportedly raided communal cellblocks at Guantanamo Prison in Cuba and hustled hunger striking inmates at gunpoint into single, maximum security cells on Saturday. According to the Miami Herald, prison authorities conducted the maneuver only hours after International Commitee of the Red Cross personnel left the island and under a complete media blackout.
Prisoners reportedly tried to fight back with improvised weapons, but submitted to guards after four “less-than-lethal” shots were fired. A statement from the prison camp at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba said that there were no serious injuries among guards or detainees.
The action by U.S. forces was an attempt to end a hunger strike by a majority of the camp’s 166 inmates that began after a “particularly aggressive” cell search on February 6, said lawyers for the detainees. Reported mistreatment of the Quran prompted inmates to cover security cameras in some areas and block access to food carts for weeks at a time.
The military denied any Quran mistreatment, and said that systematic disobedience of prison rules prompted the raid.
“In order to reestablish proper observation, the guards entered the Camp 6 communal living spaces to transition detainees into single cells, remove obstructions to cameras, windows and partitions, and to assess the medical condition of each detainee,” the prison said.
Simon Schorno of the International Red Cross said that his organization was in no way connected to the raid, and therefore “will not comment on its objectives, the way it was conducted or the detainees’ response to it.”