25 Gitmo hunger-strikers quit strike since beginning of Ramadan

July 14, 2013 at 3:36 PM
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GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba, July 14 (UPI) -- Twenty-five Guantanamo prisoners ended their hunger strike for Ramadan, but 45 inmates still require forced-feedings, U.S. Navy medical staff said.

Prison spokesmen said a new military policy -- which involved the prisoners abandoning their five-month-long hunger strike in order to be able to live in communal detention where they can eat and pray in groups -- broke part of the hunger strike at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Navy prison, The Miami Herald reported Sunday.

The hunger-striking prisoners had spent months alone in maximum-security lockdown.

"Detainees in communal living must agree to not hunger strike for their health and safety," said Army Lt. Col. Samuel House, a deputy prison camps spokesman.

To test the new measure, the military last week implemented a sliding scale of communal captivity to coincide with Islam's month of Ramadan -- July 9 to Aug. 7 this year -- when traditional Muslims fast during the day.

Hunger strike figures had risen to participation by 106 of the captives, the prison's Navy medical staff said. On Thursday, the military reported the first two quit the strike and more quit over the weekend.

Military officials first acknowledged the hunger strike in March, Navy Capt. Robert Durand said it was longstanding policy to allow hunger strikers to live communally, provided they cooperated with the prison's rules, including forced-feedings.

Under a new system, however, as described by House, hunger-striking is reason for disciplinary lockdown, the Herald reported.

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