US military 'force fed Guantanamo Bay inmates'

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US military officials at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, allegedly strapped hunger-striking prisoners into restraint chairs for hours to feed them through tubes, according to a report in The New York Times.

The newspaper, citing unnamed military officials, said tougher measures came in after authorities concluded some of the prisoners were determined to kill themselves. The apparent result has been a drop in the number of hunger strikers.

Only four detainees were still on a hunger strike, down from 84 at the end of December, the chief spokesman for the Guantanamo detainee operation, Lt-Col Jeremy Martin, said.

Lawyers called the treatment abusive. "It is clear that the government has ended the hunger strike through the use of force," Thomas B Wilner, a lawyer at Shearman & Sterling in Washington, told the newspaper.