Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

12 June 2006

Guántanamo deaths: tragic reminders of camp's lawlessness

Guántanamo deaths: tragic reminders of camp's lawlessness

On Saturday 10 June, three Guantánamo detainees were found dead in their cells. The inmates had apparently hanged themselves.

There must be a fully independent investigation led by civilians into the deaths.

The US government must give UN experts immediate and unrestricted access to Guantánamo detention centre and allow them to talk privately with detainees.

Guantánamo Bay must be closed. Take action now!

 

TESTIMONIES FROM FORMER GUANTÁNAMO DETAINEES AFTER THE DEATHS

 

Tarek Dergoul, a UK national released without charge in March 2004 after being detained in Guantánamo for over two years, in a public statement on 14 June 2006:

"For the US government to come up with a statement suggesting that they were 'creative' or that this was a form of 'asymmetric warfare' is horrendous, it is not even logical. The guys were in cages, they were desperate, they had been tortured, they still had everything to live for, so why would they go and do such a thing?"

Moazzam Begg, released without charge in January 2005 after being detained in Guantánamo for more than three years, was interviewed on TV Channel 4 on 11 June 2006:
"The reality is that people when they are in prison, even when they've been convicted of crimes, resort to suicide. So can you imagine if someone hasn't even had the opportunity to defend themselves in court or who had any access to the legal norms that we would understand or any meaningful communication - that they're completely and utterly desperate and there's no access or recourse to law or justice."


"You don't like waking up every day. Every day is every week that turns into a month, turns into a year. You just don't want to wake up sometimes."

 

Ruhal Ahmed, a UK national released without charge in March 2004 after being detained in Guantánamo for over two years, said to Amnesty International:

"This is devastating news. The death of a prisoner in custody is a test for the US government to prove whether they are humane or not. The US administration says that the deaths are part of a wider plot. This is nonsense. Why can it not be said that this was a very sad end to the lives of these individuals?"

 

Joint statement by Feroz Abbassi, Rhuhel Ahmed, Moazzam Begg, Richard Belmar, Tarek Dergoul, Jamal al-Harith, Asif Iqbal, Martin Mubanga and Shafiq Rasul, UK nationals formerly held at Guantánamo Bay, on 14 June 2006:

"It is with great sorrow and anger that we have received news of the deaths of three Muslim men detained for over four years in Guantánamo Bay. Our first words are condolences from the Qur’an, 'Verily, we came from Allah and to Him we shall return', with which we reach out to the families of the deceased. Manei al-Otaibi, Yasser al-Zahrani (Saudi Arabia) and Ali Abdullah Ahmed Al Salami (Yemen) were victims of a system we all know painfully too well – a system that has led to their deaths.

Some of us know what it’s like to see our own children for the very first time, after years spent in a cell the size of a small toilet; or to see our fathers, mothers and wives after being made to believe that we would never see them again. Sadly, that threat is now a reality for these three men and their families – at least in this life. Just like all of us, these men were sons, brothers, husbands and kin to people who waited in agony for years hoping for news of their loved ones. And this is how they receive it."

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