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Life under lockdown at America’s hunger-striking prison camps

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Gitmo With nearly every one of the 166 Guantánamo prisoners now under lockdown — back in solitary existence after years of communal living — the military has reverted to a battle rhythm reminiscent of the Bush administration.

Pre-cleared captives awaiting political change are confined for long stretches to 8-by-12 cells, each man praying behind his own steel door, deciding for himself whether to eat a solitary meal.

Meantime, troops are back to managing the most intimate aspects of a detainee’s daily life — when he will be shackled and taken to a shower, when he’ll be shackled and taken to a recreation yard, when he’ll get to hear the call to prayer through a slot in the door rather than muffled through the prison’s walls.

And, for 100 hunger strikers, the military decides when to shackle each man into a restraint chair for tube feedings — an austere, exacting control of the lives of these men that the prison’s Muslim advisor warns will not stop the next suicide.


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