Why Gitmo Hunger Strike Numbers Probably Won't Slip Soon

WASHINGTON -- It took a long time for the 100 detainees currently recognized as hunger strikers by the U.S. military to be added to that list, because, the military says, many detainees had covered up their cameras.

But now that they're on the list, Guantanamo detainees will still qualify as hunger strikers under the military's definition if they eat a limited quantity of food.

The military, which was vastly undercounting the number of hunger strikers before a raid on Camp Six moved the detainees from communal units into individual cells, says detainees must meet certain criteria before they can be removed from the hunger strike list.

A detainee who has never been force-fed may be removed from the list if he eats an average of 1,500 calories per day for three days or consumes three consecutive meals, Lt. Col. Samuel House explained to The Huffington Post. A detainee who has been force-fed may be removed if he voluntarily eats an average of 1,500 calories for seven days or if he eats nine consecutive meals.

Additionally, the senior medical officer at Guantanamo can remove a detainee from the hunger strike list "based on medical assessment that the caloric intake is sufficient for survival and it is suspected that the detainee's intent is not to hunger strike," House said. Detainees had to skip at least nine consecutive meals to be added to the hunger strike list in the first place.

As of Friday, 100 detainees remain on the hunger strike list, with 23 being fed a can of Ensure or another nutritional drink at least twice a day through a tube snaked down the nose. The number of hunger strikers has been at 100 since Saturday, April 27.



Inside Guantanamo's Prison Facility