(New York) – More prisoners have joined a hunger strike at the US-run detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, bringing the reported total to 93 out of 166 held at the facility, according to media reports. Lawyers for the detainees claim that the actual number is higher.
“The illegal detentions without charge or trial at Guantanamo Bay have gone on for more than a decade with no end in sight, so it’s not surprising that detainees feel desperate,” said Laura Pitter, counterterrorism advisor at Human Rights Watch. “The Obama administration simply has to do more to end this unlawful practice that will forever be a black mark on US history.”
Human Rights Watch has long called for an end to the practice of indefinite detention at Guantanamo, which violates international law. More than half of the detainees currently at the facility were approved for transfer to their home or third countries by an Obama administration interagency task force in 2009. Congress restricted those transfers but the Defense Department still has the ability to transfer the cleared detaineesso long as certain safeguards are in place. Human Rights Watch urged the Obama administration to use its authority to begin transferring detainees out of the facility as soon as possible.