Military force-feeding 10 percent of Guantanamo detainees
John Byrne
Published: Thursday January 8, 2009

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Ten percent of captives at the US Guantanamo Bay prison -- many of whom have never been charged of a crime -- are having their heads velcroed to chairs and forced to take in nutritional supplements by a tube forcibly inserted through their noses by US guards.

Twenty-five captives who've starved themselves for weeks are being fed through tubes in their noses, the US military admitted Thursday. Thirty detainees are currently on a hunger strike.

A lawyer for 17 Yemeni men told a Miami Herald reporter Thursday that the hunger strike was partly in response to the US decision to release Osama Bin Laden's driver Salim Hamdan in November. Hamdan was charged with supporting terrorism and was held just shy of his 66-month sentence; many of those on the hunger strike have never been charged with a crime.

''They've actually gone ballistic at the fact that Hamdan, who was convicted of supporting terrorism, was released and they, who have been charged with nothing, continue to languish there,'' Washington lawyer David Remes told Herald reporter Carol Rosenberg.

The Pentagon considers hunger strikers as detainees who've refused nine meals in a row. Detainees are force fed after fasting for 21 days or weight less than 85 percent of their weight upon arrival at the camp.

"The forced-feeding regime has guards and medical staff strap a captive into a chair, Velcro his head to a metal restraint, then tether a tube into the man's stomach through his nose to pump in liquid nourishment twice a day," Rosenberg writes.

"A military commission this summer convicted Hamdan, 40, of supporting terror for working as bin Laden's $200-a-month driver in Afghanistan until his capture in November 2001," she added.