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Military attempts to end Guantanamo Bay detainees' hunger strike

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By The Washington Post
Saturday, April 13, 2013, 6:57 p.m.

The military attempted to break a hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, early Saturday when the detention center commander ordered an end to communal living conditions and returned the detainees, sometimes forcibly, to single cells.

“This action was taken in response to efforts by detainees to limit the guard force's ability to observe the detainees by covering surveillance cameras, windows and glass partitions,” said Navy Capt. Robert Durand, a spokesman for Joint Task Force Guantanamo. “Round-the-clock monitoring is necessary to ensure security, order and safety as detainees continued a prolonged hunger strike by refusing regular camp-provided meals.”

Durand said in a statement that some detainees “resisted with improvised weapons, and in response, four less-than-lethal rounds were fired.”

He said there were no serious injuries to guards or detainees.

The hunger strike began in early February after detainees said the guard force initiated aggressive sweeps of the cells that they alleged included inappropriate searches of the detainees' Qurans. The military acknowledged that Qurans were searched for contraband, but said they were handled only by interpreters, most of whom are Muslim, not the guard force.

Lawyers for the detainees, the military and the International Committee for the Red Cross agree that the hunger strike is also born of a deeper frustration that the Obama administration has abandoned any real effort to close the facility.

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