Revealed: the diary of a British man on hunger strike in Guantanamo

More than 200 detainees are starving themselves to protest against conditions at the camp in Cuba where they are being held without trial. Here the Independent on Sunday publishes a shocking extract from the journal of Omar Deghayes, a British resident, who has been imprisoned there since September 2002
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Tuesday 5 July

Khalid Hatair (Kuwaiti) was found unconscious in his cell when Military Police wanted to give dinner food. He was ill because of the hunger strike. He was taken to hospital. 3pm. Shammrani was taken to Investigation and asked why the hunger strike. He told her disrespect to all religious rituals and this is the fourth year in prison without any charges.

Friday 8

Many people started to fall from hunger and in Block D in our block etc. 6.05 pm. A doctor and a translator threatening people and shoving them. He says we will force people to take food. Many detainees would want to take some to give them some strength for the days to come.

Saturday 9

In the morning before 11am several times doctor came around and asked questions. Some show concern. This is a new approach unseen in all previous strikes.

Tuesday 12

The strikers number in our block has increased greatly. I am assured that the strike has certainly spread in all other camps. Many people are in hospital. Qarnain in a serious ill state.

Tuesday 19

I was very sick [and unable] to write anything last few days in much pain and like dead. Today I heard that [there are] even bigger numbers in Camp Delta. In (Camp 4) 50 refused to go back to their prison in protest. They were all removed back to Camp Delta.

Wednesday 20

Omar Khadr [the Canadian juvenile] is very sick in our block. He is throwing [up] blood. They gave him cyrum [serum] when they found him on the floor in his cell. Galib Fiyhani also.

Tuesday 19

Atabi was given four tablets of Motrin daily for more than two weeks. He was not given any [real] medicine. Many doctors who came about to see the strike promised him medicine but nothing came. This drug is a poison if taken in such quantity with all its side effects.

Wednesday 20

1.43 pm. Atabi collapsed while he was walking with guards to the shower. 4.35 pm. I tidied my blanket and realised the dirt bad state it is in. Several months, if not a year, since I had a change. No facilities to wash it. Nor the sun - after the hunger strike I started to realise how bad the water smells and tastes. I am very thirsty all the time.

Thursday 21

About 11am a guard moved the Koran of Suhai (Yemeni) in Block B. In protest Rida (Tunisian) was in the rec yard and refused to go in, in protest. They brought him in with the ERF [Emergency Response Force] hulligans [hooligans]. Cayous [chaos] in Block B, C and A. Qahatani broke the camera in his cell. ERF moved him to another cell. Other trying to break the little glass on the door. Atmosphere of cayous in the camp.

Wednesday 27

The strike has stopped for one month, to give the General the time he required to implement all conditions promised. If demands were not implemented we will (Insh' Allah) return again to hunger strike. We had detainees entering the strike in turns, in groups. One group after another, after a period of time passes. More than 250 striked because their turn has come but there are others who were in there waiting and did not even get the chance to enter yet. The General promised treatment under Geneva Convention, respect of Koran and rituals, religious book and others, better food and conditions and many other things, he said. We will see.

Thursday 28

About 4 am I received early morning food before dawn for fast. It was very good. They changed it. It may cost the same price as before. But was cooked for humans this time. Yesterday [****] came back from meeting his attorney. He said three bombs hit London city. I am thinking who will put such bombs in London in this time!! I do not see how such bombings in London can enhance any Islamic cause. Britain is the best country in the world in treating its Muslim minorities and provides refuge to many others. I am sure the majority of British public are against any war ... Because of this I would conclude no [true] Islamic group would want to bomb London.

Friday 29

After dawn prayer. They brought me some items saying I was Level One as is everyone in the Camp. They gave me is comb. I brushed my hair and beard for the first time since 2002. We are in July 2005.

Monday 1 August

Things are not going good. The food, they went back to previous food all the last days. They changed the food for two days and gave pepper and chili sauce etc. Then they made sure now everyone has ended the strike they then went back as usual. Qhatani downstairs was not given Level One clothes. I spoke to the SOG he said the General made so. Because he pulled the hand of a Guard. It does seem very likely that the strike will restart again. I am very frustrated with these cunning officers and worthless men of no word.