(Reuters) - The “Fifty Shades of Grey” series of erotic novels are the favorite reading material among “high-value” prisoners at the Guantanamo detention camp in Cuba, a U.S. congressman said.
Representative Jim Moran of Virginia was among congressional delegates who last week toured Camp 7, the top-security facility that holds more than a dozen “high-value” prisoners, including five men charged with plotting the September 11 attacks on the United States in 2001.
“Rather than the Koran, the book that is requested most by the (Camp 7 detainees) is ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’ They’ve read the entire series,” Moran said in an account first published by the Huffington Post and confirmed to Reuters by Moran’s spokeswoman.
“I guess there’s not much going on, these guys are going nowhere, so what the hell.”
Moran, who favors shutting down the detention camp on the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, said he learned about the book’s popularity while touring Camp 7 with the base commander and deputy base commander, the head medical official and the officer in charge of that camp.
A military spokesman said he could not discuss details of Camp 7, whose inmates were held in secret CIA prisons before being sent to Guantanamo in 2006.
“We don’t discuss our high-value detainees except in the most generic terms. Further, we do not discuss the assertions made by members of Congress,” said Lieutenant Colonel Samuel House, a spokesman for the prison camp.
Overall Guantanamo holds 166 men rounded up in counter-terrorism operations. Some prisoners are on a hunger strike to protest their indefinite detention.
Journalists are not allowed to visit that part of the detention camp but can tour the other prisons and the library that provides books, magazines and DVDs to all 166 captives.
During a visit last week, Reuters saw an eclectic mix of books in numerous languages, from religious tomes to Star Trek novelizations, Agatha Christie mysteries, stress reduction workbooks and the Greek classic “The Odyssey.”
Also on offer is “The Hunger Games,” according to a librarian who goes by the nickname Zorro. “We have the movie and the book too,” he said.
Guantanamo librarians have said in the past that they screen reading material for sexual content, even blacking out photos of scantily clad women in the advertisements in sports magazines.
Reporting by Jane Sutton; Editing by Christopher Wilson and Bill Trott