Mar 18 2013
Despite a long history of reported human rights abuses at Guantanamo prison, which both the UN and US President Barack Obama denounced as torture, the prison’s Director of Public Affairs Captain Robert Durand has denied any wrongdoing.
“We will continue to carry out our mission to provide a safe and humane environment,” he said.
Earlier this month, Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) denied the existence of an ongoing hunger strike at the facility. Durand called detainee allegations of mistreatment, “outright falsehoods and gross exaggerations,” implying that the protest was insignificant compared to one that took place in 2006. He also claimed that detainees had fabricated incidents of misconduct.
“If the definition of a hunger striker is entirely in their control and is a matter of their discretion, then I think that explains how they are able to say that there are no more than a handful of men on hunger strike,” Pardiss Kebriaei of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) told RT.
“While JTF-GTMO continues to deny the existence of a mass hunger strike at Guantánamo, attorneys report that the prisoners’ health is declining rapidly as the hunger strike enters its second month,” CCR said in a statement on Thursday.
Gitmo prisoners have reportedly been on a hunger strike over alleged mistreatment at the hands of prison guards. Some 130 people housed in Camp 6 of Guantanamo Bay are believed to be participating, and a reported two-dozen men have lost consciousness due to their low blood glucose levels from the hunger strike.
The prisoners are protesting against the sacrilegious disrespect displayed towards their religion by the confiscation of Korans, according to detainees and their lawyers. Although Durand has categorically denied “any claims of abuse, desecration or mishandling,” it is unclear how he defined those terms.