Violent Clashes Between Guards and Detainees at Guantánamo Bay

Alan Z. Rozenshtein
Sunday, April 14, 2013, 11:55 AM
Detainees and guards clashed violently early yesterday morning at Guantánamo Bay.

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Detainees and guards clashed violently early yesterday morning at Guantánamo Bay. See reports from the Washington Post, the New York Times, and NBC. In response to the hunger strikes the detainees have engaged in for the past few weeks, guards attempted to move them into solitary-confinement cells. Rear Admiral John W. Smith Jr., who currently heads the military base at Guantánamo Bay, ordered the detainees moved "to ensure [their] health and safety," according to a military news release; as the New York Times reports, "prisoners in the communal areas, where guards rarely enter, had covered surveillance cameras, glass partitions and windows, restricting the ability of the guard force to observe them." The military defended the action on the need to let medical staff monitor the conditions of hunger-striking detainees and "ensure that detainees are not being coerced by other detainees to participate in the hunger strike.” When the guards tried to move the detainees, they resisted, some with batons they had created in advance and other improvised weapons. In response, "four less-than-lethal rounds were fired" by guards, according to the military. These clashes come on the heels of growing tension between guards and prisoners, as we've discussed in earlier posts.

Alan Z. Rozenshtein is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School, a senior editor at Lawfare, and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Previously, he served as an Attorney Advisor with the Office of Law and Policy in the National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland.

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