WASHINGTON -- The number of hunger-strikers being tracked by the military in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, rose for the first time in nearly three weeks, the military announced Thursday.
Of the 166 detainees being held on the remote naval base, 102 are now on a hunger strike. Thirty of the detainees are being force-fed or are "receiving enteral feeds," according to Lt. Col. Samuel House. Three detainees are hospitalized with non-life threatening conditions, he said.
Friday will mark the 100th day since the hunger strike began in early February after, detainees allege, the military mishandled copies of the Quran during what the military characterizes as standard cell searches.
Capt. Jason Wright, a military lawyer representing Guantanamo detainees, said at a press conference in Washington hosted by the activist group Code Pink that he and other lawyers have had "significant concerns in the leadership of the camp for several months now." Wright said he's detected a shift in the philosophy of the leadership at the prison camps.
"They started, I would say around the summer, treating these men like criminals, like men who had been convicted and sentenced in a court of law," Wright said. "I think there is a serious problem in Guantanamo Bay with the current administration. As a military officer and a lawyer, I am very disturbed that in our country -- at least in our nation's military -- we have this concept called the chain of command, and nobody is watching Guantanamo. Nobody. And so something has to be done."
Attorney General Eric Holder said this week that the White House is looking at candidates to lead the administration's efforts to close Guantanamo.
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