UK rights group urges further investigation into 2006 Guantanamo suicides

[JURIST] UK-based human rights group Reprieve [advocacy website] issued a statement [text] Tuesday suggesting that the Obama administration has suppressed information relating to the investigation of three 2006 Guantanamo Bay suicides [JURIST report] and urging further inquiries. The statement comes in response to an article [text] for an upcoming issue of Harper's Magazine [media website], in which former guards at the prison indicate that the three prisoners experienced intense interrogations in a remote area of the base just hours before the apparent suicide. According to the article, military personnel were instructed by a commanding officer that the media would be told that the deaths were suicides. The Obama administration issued a statement [Reuters report] indicating that it took the matter seriously and found no evidence of wrongdoing during its investigation. A 2008 investigation conducted by the US Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) [official website] concluded [JURIST report] that the cause of death was suicide.

In June, another Yemeni Guantanamo detainee was pronounced dead [JURIST report] after apparently committing suicide. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] called for a "full and transparent investigation" into the death. Military officials said that the three 2006 detainees, who hanged themselves using nooses made from sheets and clothes, had participated in hunger strikes and were among those who had been force-fed [JURIST report]. Amnesty International [advocacy website] said the deaths "are the tragic results of years of arbitrary and indefinite detention" and should serve as "an indictment on [Guantanamo's] deteriorating human rights record." In 2006, the US Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] rejected a demand by Amnesty International for an independent investigation into the suicides.

 

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