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Some Al Qaeda, Taliban Detainees Refuse Food

By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 28, 2002 – Some of the 300 Al Qaeda and Taliban detainees in the temporary U.S. holding facility at Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have refused to eat at several meals in the last few days, a spokesman for Joint Task Force-160 said.

Marine Capt. Alan Crouch explained the detainees receive three culturally appropriate meals per day in their holding cells. He said some of these detainees have refused to eat their meals at lunch and dinner Feb. 27 and at breakfast and lunch today.

"By no means is this an organized, concerted effort by the camp's detainee population, but merely a demonstration of some of the detainees' displeasure over the uncertainty of their future," Marine Maj. Steve Cox, the JTF's public affairs officer, said in a prepared statement. "The detainees will continue to be treated fairly but firmly in accordance with international conventions."

Crouch said 159 detainees didn't eat lunch Feb. 27, and 109 didn't eat their dinner. Today, 107 didn't eat breakfast, while 194 didn't eat lunch. The detainees were not violent in refusing their meals, Crouch said.

The detainees were asked through a translator why they were refusing meals, and they explained their concerns about their future, Crouch said.

He added that the detainees will continue to receive appropriate food, clothing and medical care. "We certainly will not allow them to starve," he said. Camp officials are investigating whether the same detainees have skipped all four meals.

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Related Sites:
U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Joint Task Force 160 Web site

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