A quarter of hunger-striking prisoners at Guantanamo Bay have abandoned their protest. Since the Muslim holy month of Ramadan began on July 8, 26 of 106 hunger-strikers have been removed from the military’s count of those abstaining from food. Tuesday marked the first time since July 2 that the number of people receiving force-feeding–which entails being strapped down while a liquid nutritional supplement is fed through a nasogastric tube for as long as two hours up to twice a day–has increased. 46 prisoners are now being force fed.
The decrease in hunger-strikers may be due to a recently instituted policy: hunger-striking prisoners can leave maximum security lock down–which many were moved to do during an April 13 clash with guards–and return to a communal section of the prison where they can participate in group meals and prayer if they agree not to end their hunger strike, according to prison spokesmen.