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35 Guantanamo hunger strikers are force-fed

An Army guard walks the hallway in Camp 5 at U.S. Navy base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, August 2012.

MIAMI — U.S. Navy medical staff Sunday force-fed 35 captives at the prison camps at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a military spokesman said, noting that six of at least 103 hunger strikers were hospitalized.

“The detainees in the hospital do not currently have any life-threatening conditions,” said Army Lt. Col. Samuel House in an email from the U.S. Navy base in southeast Cuba.

The number of prisoners participating in the hunger strike could be larger than the reported 103. Prison spokesmen say they are not allowed to include any of the 15 former CIA captives in their account of the hunger strikers, even if any are shackled into restraint chairs for twice-daily tube feedings.

Former CIA prisoners are secluded in a clandestine prison building called Camp 7 that houses “high-value detainees” who got to Guantanamo in 2006. They include the five alleged architects of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, and three men whom U.S. agents waterboarded.

Guantanamo captives getting tube feedings include at least five captives whom a federal task force approved for release years ago. The prison won’t identify those on hunger strike but the Justice Department has notified attorneys for at least 16 of the men that their clients are being force-fed.

At the height of Guantanamo’s most widespread and longest sustained previous hunger strike, in 2005, military medical staff force fed an average 30 detainees a day, House said.

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