Guantanamo detainees slowly ending hunger strike

June 5, 2006 06:05

The number of Guantanamo Bay detainees participating in a hunger strike has dropped from 89 to 18, the US military said Sunday. The strike - which had jumped from three participants in late May to 89 on Thursday - was the biggest of the year at the US naval base in southeast Cuba, where about 460 men are being held on suspicion of links to al-Qaida or the Taliban. Four hunger strikers were being force-fed, Navy Cmdr. Robert Durand said. He did not say what led 71 detainees to abandon their strike. A human rights attorney has described the strike as a desperate appeal for justice. But the US military has said the detainees were trying to pressure the United States to release them and Durand said the hunger strike technique was "consistent with al-Qaida practice."

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