civil disobedient begins hunger strike, as pelican bay hunger strike resumes tomorrow

by Tim Phillips

Uriel Alberto was born in Oaxaca, Mexico in 1987 and came to the U.S. at age 7. Approximately one year ago, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) rejected his request to stay in the U.S. following his February 2012 arrest for disrupting a meeting of the North Carolina House Select Committee on the State’s Role in Immigration Policy. After ICE ordered Alberto to present himself to immigration authorities by July 17 of this year, he began a hunger strike last week in front of the ICE office in Charlotte to protest his deportation.

Another hunger strike, in California, will restart tomorrow. Due to broken promises and cruel conditions, prisoners will resume a July 2011 hunger strike that started in Pelican Bay’s isolation unit and spread to prisons across the state. According to a San Francisco Bay Guardian article,

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) counted 6,000 prisoners throughout the state who refused food over several weeks in July 2011. During a follow-up strike that September, the number of prisoners missing meals swelled to 12,000, according to the federal receiver who was appointed by the courts to oversee reforms in the system. At least one inmate starved to death.

At Guantánamo Bay, where a group of detainees began a hunger strike in February and more than 100 detainees are refusing food, the U.S. government says it will continue to force-feed 45 of the hunger strikers during the holy month of Ramadan. Observant Muslims fast daily from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan, which begins tomorrow. The Obama administration allegedly does not force-feed observant Muslims between sunrise and sunset during Ramadan, but lawyers for the detainees have criticized the government for failing to guarantee that no such force-feeding will occur.