Two Guantánamo Bay captives have reportedly quit their hunger strikes, marking the first dip in ongoing the prison camp protest and clashes between guards and prisoners coinciding with the Ramadan holiday.
Navy Capt. Robert Durand, the prison camp’s spokesman, told the Miami Herald that no detainees threw bodily fluids at guards and no soldiers forced captives out of cells for at least 24 hours.
“It’s quiet,” Durand told the newspaper. “It may be Ramadan is generous.”
Durand was referring to Islam’s traditional greeting for the month of prayer and daytime fasting — Ramadan Kareem, or Ramadan is generous.
The U.S. military marked the start of the holiday this week by allowing about 75 of Guantánamo’s 166 captives to pray and eat in groups at the communal Camp 6 prison building. All 75 had been under lockdown since mid-April, housed in solitary cells up to 22 hours a day, praying and eating alone, the newspaper reports.
Roughly 40 men are now being allowed to roam 18 hours of the day inside their cellblock and are being locked inside individual cells six hours per night. Captives in communal pods have access to televisions, recreation yards and showers without being taken there shackled at the wrists and the ankles. Others were being locked inside their cells up to 18 hours a day, but being allowed to pray and eat together in the evenings when the Ramadan fast ends.
“They’re eating,” Durand said, adding that an evening meal this week featured lamb and rice. “It was pretty well enjoyed.”
Still, as of Thursday, the military tallied 104 captives as hunger strikers and said 45 were listed for nighttime force-feedings during hours when Ramadan observers eat. Since June 28, the military had reported 106 on hunger strike. Thursday’s figure removed two hunger strikers from the steadily growing list for the first time this year. The military would not say who ended his hunger strike or why, the newspaper reports.