As many as 200 detainees at the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, an occupied section of Cuba, are taking part in the most widespread hunger strike to date at the prison.

“People are desperate. They have been there three years. They were promised that the Geneva Conventions would be respected and various changes would happen and, unfortunately, the (U.S.) Government reneged on that,” said British lawyer Clive Stafford-Smith, who represents one of the hunger strikers.

The military has acknowledged 128 prisoners are taking part in the hunger strike began, but attorneys put the total at 200 – nearly 40 percent of the total prison population.

Since the hunger strike began in the first week of August, 18 hunger strikers have been hospitalized including 13 who are being forcefed through intravenous tubes.

“They truly feel they have nothing left. I’m not sure what the end point will be. But I do predict there will be death,” said attorney David Remes, who represents several Yemeni detainees.

Some of the hunger strikers have been detained for nearly four years without facing charges.

Several detainees have also reported recent beatings at the hands of military interrogators.

Detainees say one interrogator severely beat a Tunisian detainee with an empty beverage cooler and a metal chair.



A federal appeals court has ruled that the government can indefinitely detain U.S. citizens without trial.

The ruling came down in the case of Jose Padilla – a Brooklyn-born man accused of plotting to set off a “dirty bomb” inside the United States.

Padilla has been held for over three years in solitary conferment on a Navy brig. No charges have ever been filed against him and he has never appeared before a judge.

The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the president has the authority to detain individuals “in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States.”

Writing the decision was Judge J. Michael Luttig, who is reportedly being considered by President Bush as a potential Supreme Court nominee.

The ruling overturns an earlier decision by U.S. District Judge Henry Floyd that “indefinite detention without trial” is unconstitutional.

“The court’s ruling effectively declares the entire world, including the United States, to be a battlefield subject to military jurisdiction, where American citizens can be stripped of their constitutional rights,” said Deborah Pearlstein of Human Rights First.

Padilla’s attorney, Donna Newman, plans to appeal the decision.

“They’re telling him he’s going to be held forever, that he has no rights,” Newman said. “What they’re saying is worse than a life sentence.