March 28, 2013
Guantanamo inmates complain of not being given drinking water and having to cope with extremely low temperatures, their lawyers have said. As the Gitmo hunger strike enters its 51st day, the White House has made its first comment on the protest.
Guantanamo detainees who have been refusing food for weeks now complain of being denied drinking water, according to Yemeni prisoner Musaab al-Madhwani, who spoke with his attorney by phone on Monday. He also claimed that temperatures at the camp were being kept extremely low.
Following the call, a group of human rights lawyers filed an emergency motion with a federal court in Washington, describing the alleged mistreatment: “The reality is that these men are slowly withering away and we as a country need to take immediate action,” Denver-based human rights lawyer Mari Newman said, according to AP.
The allegations of mistreatment were denied by the prison’s spokesperson, Navy Capt. Robert Durand, who said the inmates were getting “the same water I make my coffee with and that they make lunch with.”
While this motion has not yet received a response from the U.S. government, the White House has finally broken its silence over the seven-week-long hunger strike at Gitmo. “I can tell you that the White House and the president’s team is closely monitoring the hunger strikers at Guantanamo Bay,” President Obama’s spokesperson Joshua Earnest said, according to AFP. “I can tell you that the administration remains committed to closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.”
President Obama vowed to close down Guantanamo at the beginning of his first term in office in 2009; he was blocked from fulfilling that promise by legislation passed by the US Congress.
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