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The Story was produced at North Carolina Public Radio - WUNC and was heard on over 100 stations.Visit The Story web site to listen to this program and for more details, archives, show highlights and more podcasts. UPDATE 1.13.2020: The Story web site has been decommissioned and is in the process of being archived. It may return at a later date.

Driven By Despair, More Guantánamo Detainees Join Hunger Strike

Photo: Camp X-Ray in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba
Shane T. McCoy, U.S. Navy

Last Friday, Carlos Warner called one of his 11 clients in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and offered to help negotiate the end of a hunger strike that detainees are holding. But the client, Fayiz al Kandari, declined his offer, and asked why the U.S. Army will not talk directly to them.

In this interview on The Story with Dick Gordon, Warner says the living conditions at the detention facility have deteriorated since the U.S. Navy handed control to the Army, that detainees have been pepper sprayed and shot with rubber bullets, and that the protests could have been prevented if someone had spoken directly with detainees.

As many as 130 detainees have gone on hunger strike since Feb. 6, Warner says. The initial spark for the protest, he says, was that authorities handled the inmates' Korans in a disrespectful way, but there is a deeper cause: the men, some of whom have been held for more than 11 years without trial, are convinced they will never go home. According to Warner, eighty-six of them have been cleared for release, yet they remain.

"They're ready to die because of the hopelessness of this situation," Warner says. "They realized they were going to die in Guantánamo with nobody watching, and they want to die peacefully."

Hear the full conversation at The Story's site. Also in this show: an essay from Samir Nahi al Hasan Moqbel, a detainee on hunger strike in Guantánamo Bay; George Bien, a Hungarian who was sent to a Soviet prison camp in Siberia; and Ivette Cepeda, a celebrated Cuban singer who is bringing her music to the U.S.

Before coming to North Carolina Public Radio to host The Story, Dick Gordon was host of The Connection, a daily national call-in talk show produced in Boston, from 2001 to 2005. Gordon is well-known in the profession as an experienced, seasoned journalist with an extensive background in both international and domestic reporting. He was a war correspondent and back-up host for the CBC's This Morning, a national current affairs radio program. An award winning journalist, he has also served as a Parliamentary reporter, Moscow correspondent and South Asia correspondent for both radio and television.
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