I happened one day to go to the hospital after my knee swelled up, and there I met a Mauritanian prisoner called Muhammad al-Amin al-Shinqiti. He was on a hunger strike, and I asked him his reason for doing so, I wanted to tell Clive his story.
He said: “The reason is that many prisoners in camps 1, 2 and 3 are suffering urinary tract problems. The main reason is the lack of healthy drinking water, and the worst thing is that they will only prescribe drugs to treat this if the interrogators permit it.
“One day, on Quebec block, the idea of a strike [not drinking water]) came up, which obviously raised the matter of a hunger strike to change the poison which was destroying so many prisoners’ health.”
Al-Shinqiti then agreed with Abdullah al-Qahtani, Abu Ziad al-Makki, Adam al-Yemeni, Badr al-Sumairi (known as Gabriel) and two others to go on strike.
Two days later, al-Shinqiti fell in his cell because of severe dizziness and was transported to hospital. The doctor found he was severely dehydrated and asked him if he had been drinking enough. Al-Shinqiti replied that he would drink only water that was fit for drinking and not water that harms him.
The doctor ordered safe water and told him to drink it, telling him: “You can drink this water here in the hospital. When you return to the camp, you’ll drink the other water.”
Al-Shinqiti refused to drink unless they found a solution to the whole water problem. The doctor threatened him with a fluid IV, but al-Shinqiti persevered.
He returned to the camp and continued his strike.
Three days later, he was transported to hospital for tests, where his health was found to be severely deteriorating. A doctor ordered that they hang IV fluids for him and isolate him in the hospital.
“Do you want to kill yourself?”
he asked.“It would be better than you killing me with disease,” al-Shinqiti replied. “You drink water that is suitable for human consumption. But you order us to drink dirty water. You even put in writing that it is unsuitable for drinking. I know that it causes serious diseases.”
Al-Shinqiti stayed the course and continued his strike until the administration had no choice but to comply with his demands.