MIAMI -- The number of hungers strikers has more than doubled since the U.S. military put most prisoners under lockdown at the U.S. Navy base at Guantánamo, the military said yesterday, reporting that it now classified 92 of the captives as hunger strikers and was force-feeding 17 of them.
Two were getting tube feedings at the prison camps hospital, said Army Lt. Col. Samuel House. Defense lawyers for some detainees have insisted that about 130 of the 166 captives joined in the hunger strike two months ago, and accused the military of refusing to acknowledge it.
House, acting prison spokesman, released the figures in a short email from the prison that noted the medical forces' tally jumped from 84 Monday.
He said two captives who were hospitalized a day earlier were returned to their cells and were not sent to other lockups at the sprawling prison camps compound, which has a psychiatric unit.
The military reported the hunger strike figure at 43 before soldiers stormed into the showcase communal prison April 13 and put nearly every captive under lockdown.
Those on hunger strike include two Yemenis in their 30s: Samir Mukbel, whose attorney helped him tell his story recently in an article in The New York Times, and Yasin Ismael, whose lawyer David Remes said he was notified has client was among those being force-fed last week.
A spokesman at the Southern Command attributed the rise in figures to a combination of troops being better able to see who is really forgoing food and anger by some captives over sudden solitary cell confinement after years of being allowed to tend for themselves.