Political pressure is mounting to make institutional changes to the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Thursday, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the Democratic chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, sent a letter to the Obama administration calling for the transfer of the 86 detainees who have already been cleared for release.
There is an ongoing hunger strike by Guantanamo detainees. In early February, 14 of the 166 detainees began abstaining from food as a form of protest. The immediate cause of the strike is unclear, but reports of mistreatment and due process denial almost certainly played a part. By April 5, when All in With Chris first reported on the strike, the Pentagon confirmed that there were 40 strikers, though lawyers closely associated with the strikers have said the number was much higher.
The aggrieved are attracting new participants by the day. On Thursday, a prison spokesman confirmed, based on evaluations performed by medical personnel, that there are now as many as 94 men on hunger strike. That is 54 more men confirmed than 20 days ago. That is 10 more men confirmed than the official count just two days ago. That is more than half of all detainees.
On April the 14th Joint Task Force commander ordered the hunger strikers to be moved from communal cells to solitary confinement to ensure their “health and security.” Although intended to deter others from joining the protest, this decision to confine detainees to single cells has apparently had the opposite effect.