Lawyer says Gitmo suicide attempt sign of desperation

[JURIST] American lawyer Joshua Colangelo-Bryan [attorney profile], who is currently representing six Bahraini men being held without charges at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive], said Tuesday that prisoners at the US facility are becoming increasingly desperate. Colangelo-Bryan witnessed a suicide attempt [JURIST report] at Guantanamo two weeks ago when his client, detainee Jumah Dossari [Amnesty International case sheet], asked to use the restroom then attempted to hang himself. In an interview Tuesday on Democracy Now, Colangelo-Bryan said:

We have men who have been held for four years without charge, often not even accused of violence; they ave been subjected to a range of abuses corroborated by U.S. personnel. They have been prevented from speaking with their families, and they have been told, in many instances, that they will be in Guantanamo for the rest of their lives. As I see it, these men are exercising what they believe is the only form of control over their own lives that they're able to, so while it was certainly a shocking sight for me to witness, I can’t say that it's particularly surprising when you consider Guantanamo as a whole.
Colangelo-Bryan also rebutted a statement by Lt. Col. Jeremy Martin, a spokesman for Joint Task Force Guantanamo [official website], that suicide attempts are "consistent with al Qaeda training and reflects the detainees' attempts to elicit media attention and bring pressure on the United States government" by stating that the US government lost credibility by claiming the detainees were "the worst of the worst," then releasing 250 of them. He stated "In light of those obviously inaccurate statements, I take anything that the military says with a grain of salt." Finally, Colangelo-Bryan responded to the US government's decision to prohibit UN human rights observers from interviewing detainees [JURIST report], stating " a prepackaged publicity tour where people are led around to various facilities and shown sample meals but never get to speak with detainees is in my mind an exercise without any value, if you are trying to figure out what exactly is happening at Guantanamo." Read a transcript of the interview and watch recorded video.

 

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