- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 28, 2013

Prisoners at Guantanamo Bay already on a hunger strike have found a new issue to protest: Guards aren’t giving them bottled water, but rather forcing them to drink from the tap.

Human rights lawyers are on the case, filing more petitions against the guards. The latest comes from an interview with Yemeni prisoner Musaab al-Madhwani, who told attorneys over the phone that guards were denying prisoners bottled water and forcing them to drink what they think is nonpotable water from the tap, CBS reports.

Lawyers say forcing prisoners to drink from the tap “already caused some [of them] kidney, urinary and stomach problems,” which have only exacerbated the health issues they’re suffering from their hunger strike, CBS says.

“The reality is that these men are slowly withering away, and we as a country need to take immediate action,” said Mari Newman, a human rights lawyer based in Denver and quoted by CBS.

Military officials say that 31 Gitmo prisoners are taking part in the hunger strike. That’s up from 28 on Monday, CBS reports.

The U.S. government has yet to respond to the bottled-water complaint, CBS says. But Navy Capt. Robert Durand says the tap water is not unhealthy.

“It’s potable water. It’s the same water I make my coffee with and that they make lunch with,” Capt. Durand said in the CBS report.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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