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At the Fox News Republican debate in Durham, N.H. on Sept. 5, 2007, Rep. Duncan Hunter said the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are being coddled. Here's his full quote:
"Those guys get taxpayer-paid-for prayer rugs. They have prayer five times a day. They've all gained weight. The last time I looked at the menu, they had honey-glazed chicken and rice pilaf on Friday."
Hunter accurately described the treatment of the detainees.
Indeed, the Joint Task Force Guantanamo, which runs the camp, provides prayer rugs to the detainees that are paid for by taxpayers, according to Lt. Col. Edward Bush, a spokesman for the task force.
"Detainees are given the opportunity to practice their religions," Bush said, which means that the Muslim call to prayer is sounded five times a day and played over the loudspeakers in the camp.
Bush said the detainees are served three meals a day that meet their "cultural dietary requirements," and chicken and rice pilaf is one of the offerings.
He could not confirm that the chicken dish was served on a Friday, as Hunter specifically claimed, but Hunter's point remains valid.
Bush said that while it's not possible to know if "all" of them gain weight, it is common for them to do so, he said.
Interview with Lt. Col. Edward M. Bush III, U.S. Army, Deputy Public Affairs Officer, JTF Guantanamo
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