Authorities at Guantanamo Bay have twice censored a list of prisoners on hunger strike, set out by detainee Shaker Aamer in a letter to his lawyers.
Mr Aamer, a British resident from South London, has twice provided his attorneys at human rights charity Reprieve with a list of all of the prisoners who he knows to be currently on hunger-strike, and those who are being force-fed. However, on each occasion in the past month that he has done so, Guantanamo authorities have censored the entire list.
Mr Aamer provides a list of prisoners classified as “1. H.S. (hunger striker) 2.TF (tube feeding) 3. P.H.S. (partly hunger striking) 4. Unk (unknown).” The complete list has been censored by prison authorities.
As well as blocking public release of the lists, JTF Guantanamo staff have engaged in a series of tactics designed to break prisoners’ strikes, including gratuitous and humiliating body searches, solitary confinement, and confiscation of prisoners’ family and legal mail. The techniques used are detailed in Reprieve’s report, Down the tubes: The 2013 Hunger Strike at Guantanamo Bay, published on 10 July.
The Miami Herald has also reported that “Reporters who visit the prison have so far been forbidden to see the twice-daily tube feedings, to test military claims that most captives go willingly and sometimes agreeably chug a can of Ensure instead,” and “photographers can’t show a captive’s face as a condition of access to the camps.”
Commenting, Clive Stafford Smith, Reprieve’s Director and lead counsel for Shaker Aamer, said: “What is the US Government trying to hide? This is just one of a host of measures the staff at Guantánamo have engaged in to try to conceal the strike and break the strikers. The reality is, President Obama could start releasing cleared hunger-strikers like Shaker from Guantanamo tomorrow if he had the political courage. He needs only to direct the Secretary of Defense to issue ‘waivers’ so that cleared men can go home.”
Notes to editors
1. For further information, please contact Donald Campbell in Reprieve’s press office: +44 (0) 207 553 8166 / 7791 755 415 / firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Reprieve’s report Down the tubes: The 2013 Hunger Strike at Guantanamo Bay can be found here: http://www.reprieve.org.uk/press/2013_07_10_guantanamo_hunger_strike_violence_obama/
2. The texts of Mr Aamer’s two letters to Clive Stafford Smith are copied below:
(i) Letter dated June 28, 2013
This is a rough list of everybody in Camp 5 at this date; also those who are hunger striking and who are being tube fed. There is an additional list of those who are partly hunger striking for health reasons – some of them cannot take the tube, and some of them have to take meds. There are a small number where I don’t know if they are on hunger strike or not. This is the meaning of the letters on the lists.
1. H.S. (hunger striker)
2. TF (tube feeding)
3 P.H.S. (partly hunger striking)
4 Unk (unknown)
There are three brothers in Delta Upper. I don’t know their numbers and I am not able immediately to find out.
There will be more tube feeding in Camp 6, the hospital, the BHU [Behavioral Health Unit], Camp Echo and Camp 7 [where the High Value Detainees, or HVD’s, are held].
So no one really knows the full number of the tube feeding yet but slowly but surely the number is increasing (Insh’a Allah) God willing until we close Guantanamo.
I did this list last night so I could send it to you today with the other mail which contains what we talked about on the phone. I will have more, I hope, when I see you on July 2nd. I will have a very detailed list with the weight and health status – and also hopefully all of the detainees in Camp 6. I did not write the names, only the ISN’s [Internment Serial Numbers] because with most of the detainees the names I know are only nicknames – so you will have to put real names to the numbers.
I am working on a similar listing of the doctors, nurses and corpsmen as a separate project. Names (even if they are fake names), numbers and everything they are doing against us. I will get as much info as I can about the medical staff.
Keep up the good work and do your best to get this info outside through the legal channels. The hunger strike must continue until we close Guantánamo and bring justice back to the world.
PS. I did my best to finish this fast to send it to you so you can put it in the best use for the good we are doing. May Allah bless it so that we may succeed in our mission.
[THE ENTIRE LIST OF PRISONERS HAS BEEN CENSORED]
(ii) Letter dated 14 June 2013
This is a list of hunger strikers and partial hunger strikers at Camp 5-6. According to my knowledge there are more but it is hard for me to get info from Camp 6 and the hospital.
I know for sure the number of hunger strikers is more than 120 but I just gave you the ones I know for sure. I am confident about some for whom I can’t find the [ISN] number – the names they use here are nicknames so if I write that down you will be none the wiser.
The brothers who are partial hunger strikers do so for health reasons – they have to take medication, that’s why they are not full HS. Some men are very skinny and food, but are not counted as strikers by the Administration. Some others are hiding the fact of their hunger strike by pretending to take food, until they lose a lot of weight and must be immediately put on Tube Feeding. I will try to make a better list when I see you God willing in July. Don’t stop sending all the news as often as you can.
14 June 2013 1.00am
[THE ENTIRE LIST OF PRISONERS HAS BEEN CENSORED]