Astronomical costs: Gitmo consumes $900,000 per prisoner annually

Published on Russia Today RT, May 5, 2013.

Maintenance of Guantanamo has been revealed to cost over $150 million each year, with immediate estimates citing it one of the most expensive prisons in the world. This comes as the hunger strike at the detention facility is far from over … //

… The $900,000 annual cost per prisoner equates to the pay that was allocated to nearly seven states to help serve home delivered meals to the elderly, reports Reuters. Some $129,497 per state has been cut through sequestration.

“No one has any particular affection for Guantanamo Bay, but no one has come up with a practical solution that’s better,” a Republican aide with the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee observed.

Out of 166 detainees, as many as 130 are now currently taking part in a mass hunger-strike, their lawyers say. Official reports state that one hundred have joined the action.

The strike began around February 6 and was instigated by widespread searches of detainees’ Korans – perceived as religious desecration – as well as searches and confiscation of other personal items, according to the strikers’ lawyers. Later, it grew into a protest against indefinite detention.

The weakened state of the inmates has led to the authorities force-feeding them through nasal tubes – a practice which was condemned by the UN’s human rights office as a form of torture earlier this week.

“If it’s perceived as torture or inhuman treatment – and it’s the case, it’s painful – then it is prohibited by international law,” Rupert Coville, spokesman for the UN high commissioner for human rights told AFP on Wednesday.

American officials themselves have spoken out against the way in which the prison is administered.

“Our taskforce was unanimous – we just do not believe that it fits into the laws and the ethics and the values of America to have indefinite detention, and to not allow a court of law – an adjudication of the charges against a person – to go through an orderly process,” America’s former ambassador to Mexico, James Jones, told RT on Friday.

He later pointed out that officials in charge have no reason to be holding more than half of the detainees.

“We have actually prosecuted similar cases against other countries who have not followed what we say we ought to do, and we’re not following and practicing what we are preaching,” he said.
(full text).

Links:

Gitmo hunger strike Timeline: on RT, May 5, 2013;

President Obama on Gitmo: It needs to stop, 3.08 min, uploaded by adalrich00, May 1, 2013: President Obama had planned to close Guantanamo Bay as soon as he took office, but after being blocked by Congress and the military court system, and coping with the detainees’ hunger strike, there’s no easy solution for the facility that costs taxpayers $800 million a year.

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