Relatives of nearly 90 detainees from Yemen, being held by U.S. authorities at the U.S. Guantanamo Bay lockup, alongside activists staged a protest in Sanaa, in front of the U.S. Embassy on Monday. The protesters demanded the release of the prisoners after over a decade of them being held in detention.
The largest group of detainees being held at the Guantanamo Bay lockup is Yemenis. In all, there are 166 detainees at the naval base located on the island nation of Cuba. Most of the Yemenis were detained inside Afghanistan, after the invasion in 2001 by the U.S.
Protester and Human rights activist Abdel-Rahman Barman spoke of the conditions in the prison as being very poor with two or more of the detainees carrying on a hunger strike.
Those two are part of close to 33 prisoners that the military in the U.S. says started a hunger strike. Three had to be hospitalized due to dehydration.
Prisoners said they have not been allowed to drink water and inside the cells, air conditioning had been kept at frigid temperatures as a form of punishment while they were on thier hunger strike. U.S. military sources disputed those claims and said prisoners always are offered water inside the detention center.
The largest hunger strikes in Guantanamo started during the summer in 2005 and was at its peak of 131 prisoners. At that time, the facility had 500 detainees. Military personnel broke up the hunger strike by strapping down the detainees and forcing them to receive liquid nutrients so they would not die of starvation.
Relatives of those detained gave an employee of the U.S. embassy a letter. No one in the U.S. embassy released a comment about the protest or the content of the letter.