To: Adelanto Detention Center Warden and Los Angeles Field Office Director for ICE
ICE and GEO: Stop Retaliation against hunger strikers in Adelanto Detention Center!
ICE and GEO must investigate the use of force and threats by guards against hunger strikers, make the findings public, hold the guards as well as their chain of command accountable, and release all 42 hunger strikers immediately.
Why is this important?
Just after a hunger strike launched by nine detained asylum-seekers in Southern California made headlines across the country on Monday, they were brutally attacked by guards of the private prison company GEO Group (GEO). After they delivered a letter stating their demands to prison staff, GEO guards drenched the #Adelanto9 with pepper spray, beat them, handcuffed them, and transferred them to segregated housing. Some of the strikers were slammed against walls and floors and one was beaten severely enough that a dental crown was knocked out. Afterwards, strike participants reported that guards forced them to shower with hot water, which reacts with the pepper spray to greatly increase the pain, and that they were humiliated and insulted by prison staff.
Despite their mistreatment, the #Adelanto9 are still on hunger strike three days later, and a group of 33 women also detained at Adelanto just announced that they, too, have begun a hunger strike! Like the 9 men whose hunger strike began on Monday, the women have demanded:
1. Adequate medical care: Adelanto is infamous for substandard medical care and is now the deadliest detention center of 2017, where three detained immigrants have died so far this year.
2. Treatment with respect: Guards for the private prison company which runs Adelanto, GEO Group, have brutalized hunger strikers and threatened others with assault, but this is just the most extreme form of daily humiliations reported by detained immigrants on a regular basis. Sara Salcido, one of the hunger strikers declares: “We want them to speak to us like we are humans, not animals. We don’t want to be disrespected and cursed at.”
3. Immediate release: Adelanto is currently holding detained immigrants on unreasonably high bonds, in the tens of thousands of dollars, which strikers have called “a humiliating joke” and not so different from the extortion demands that many of the asylum-seekers are fleeing.
We call on ICE and GEO to investigate the use of force and threats by guards against hunger strikers, make the findings public, hold the guards as well as their chain of command accountable, and release all 42 hunger strikers immediately
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