Lawyers ask Hagel to help end Guantanamo hunger strike

March 15, 2013 01:02

MIAMI - Lawyers for Guantanamo prisoners urged US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Thursday to help end a mass hunger strike that they said threatened the health and lives of detainees, though the US military has played down the scale of the protest.

The detention camp at the Guantanamo Bay US Naval Base in eastern Cuba holds 166 men captured in counterterrorism operations. Nearly all are Muslims and most have been held for 11 years without charge.

The lawyers said detainees began a wide-scale hunger strike on February 6 to protest the confiscation of letters, photographs and legal mail, and the rough handling of Korans during searches of their cells.

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