‘Meaningful negotiations may end hunger strike, but Obama must act too’ - Gitmo attorney
The latest official figures from the Guantanamo authorities suggest that 100 of total 166 inmates are taking part in a hunger strike that started around February 6. The number of prisoners being force-fed under medical observation with no “life-threatening conditions” is fluctuating from day to day. But one of the lawyers, Carlos Warner told RT that anyone who is being tube fed after losing a “third or more of his body weight is in a very dire position.”
RT:What’s the latest you’ve got from your client, a
Kuwaiti man, Fayiz Kandari, what condition is he, and the rest of
the inmates, in?
Carlos Warner: He’s in a terrible condition. I talked to
him on Friday by telephone. He indicated that they are using a
large tube in his nose, a size 10 instead of a size 8, which is
causing him pain. He went into detail about the raid. He wanted me
to underscore that this is a peaceful process, they intend no
violence and any detainee that engages in violence has it wrong.
This is a peaceful protest against what’s happening in
RT:I guess the authorities will say they’ve got a duty to care, to look after these guys as well, they say none of them are in a condition that is life threatening. True or False?
CW: Completely false. Obviously anyone who is being tube
fed and who’s lost, at this point, a third or more of his body
weight is in a very dire position.
RT:Where’s the boundary between the duty of care I
just spoke about and being force fed? Is it justified do you
CW: If you’re going to be force fed, listen to the men. Do not put a bigger tube and punish them in the way you do it. But the issue here is with the president. President Obama must pick up the ball and end this strike, the military has come around and is admitting that the camp is in a full scale strike of a duration and scope we’ve never seen. The president has to intervene. Yesterday, he’s at the correspondent’s dinner making jokes while men are dying in Guantanamo. We ask that he pays some attention.
RT:Carlos, is that why the prisoners have ramped up
their protest. We have seen a spike recently. That’s one of the
reasons, yes or no?
CW: Look that’s the fuel that’s driving the fire. Now the
military could negotiate an end to this in a matter of days. It
would incorporate those who work with the men, and talk to the men
instead of using force, I think they could end the strike. However,
the fuel behind the fire is indefinite detention and until
President Obama does something about that we are going to be stuck
in the same position in 2-3 months when something else happens.
It’s completely on the president’s doorstep here.
RT:Two-three months, I guess there’s likely to have
been a death or two by then, with-in 2 or 3 months is it
CW: Well, I think the military has admitted that. You had
a military advisor in the press saying there are going to be
multiple deaths because of tis and that’s the fact, that’s what
happens when you have hopelessness and that’s what happens when you
have this terrible situation that’s being aggravated by the
military. The military is at fault here, they need to negotiate an
end and not just exert their will on these hopeless men. But
ultimately the moves have to happen in Washington. You need to have
the president say, we are dedicated to closing it, and I’m
appointing someone to do it.
RT:Is that all that could be done to stop this hunger strike or is that past the point of no return almost?
CW: No, the military can still end this by negotiating,
and Fayiz Kandari said that on Friday. He said that nobody in the
camp has talked to them in a meaningful way. They just attack and
exert their will. So, I think if the military negotiates they can
end the strike, but that’s not going to end the problem. The
problem will remain until the president decides to pick up the ball
and follow through with his promise to close Guantanamo. And if he
doesn’t - people will die.