KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — U.S. military officials at the Guantanamo Bay prison announced Monday that they will stop releasing daily hunger strike updates because the number of protesting inmates has steadily dropped.
For months, the U.S. military has issued reports each day listing the number of hunger strikers at the prison on the U.S. base in Cuba. But Monday's statement from Joint Task Force Guantanamo said the number of hunger strikers has significantly diminished since early July, when more than 100 prisoners were on a strike.
There are now 19 inmates tracked as hunger strikers in the prison with a population of 164, according to the U.S. military. The total has remained the same for almost two weeks.
"We believe today's numbers represent those who wish to continue to strike," the military's statement said.
Eighteen of those prisoners are on the "enteral feed list," meaning they can be strapped down and fed a liquid nutrient mix through a nasal tube. According to the military's latest tally, no hunger striking inmates are being observed in a base hospital.
The U.S. military requires a minimum of three days of sustained eating and a minimal caloric intake before prisoners can be removed from the tally.
Although a small group of prisoners have on long-term hunger strike since 2007, the number of striking inmates began to spike in February. By April, more than half of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay had joined the strike to draw attention to their indefinite detention.
The hunger strike this year has prompted President Barack Obama to criticize the force-feedings and renew his efforts to close the prison.
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