Conflict & Justice

Guantanamo Bay detainees fight back against guards in clash


The guard tower at the front gate of the Joint Detention Group at the US Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, January 19, 2012. Majid Khan, a Guantanamo detainee, is likely to enter a plea deal which will limit his sentencing to 25 years.



Guantanamo Bay prisoners fought back against prison guards with improvised weapons when the guards removed detainees from communal living areas and put them in individual cells on Saturday.

Guards shot rubber bullets at the prisoners to control the crowd in the Camp IV detention center. “There were no serious injuries to guards or detainees,” according to a statement from Joint Task Force Guantanamo, which runs the prison.

According to Joint Task Force Guantanamo, the guards isolated detainees in individual cells because the prisoners had covered up surveillance cameras, windows and glass partitions in communal living areas.

The 166 or so inmates at the detention facility have grown increasingly frustrated at their treatment since a new commander took over Guantanamo last year, CNN reported.

In response to a number of issues, including guards searching through the prisoners’ Korans in a disrespectful manner, some inmates have gone on a weeks-long hunger strike, according to CNN.

More from GlobalPost: Guantanamo prison hunger strike grows

According to BBC News:

Hunger strikes have happened frequently at the US military prison, but this protest, which began in February, is reportedly one of the longest and most widespread.

Military lawyer Lieutenant Colonel Barry Wingard told Agence France-Presse that prisoners had asked guards to take their Korans instead of treating them in an offensive way.

"The officials refused to take the Korans, and continued to search the books in plain view of the prisoners," Wingard told AFP. "Of course, the bigger issue is the 11.5 years without charges and hopelessness of never being released."