“A Saudi detainee at the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was found dead in his cell from an apparent suicide yesterday,” the fourth detainee to take his own life at the facility in the past year. The Center for Constitutional Rights released a statement noting that in recent months, “conditions at Guantanamo have become even more bleak: the military has increasingly held people in solitary confinement and continued to refuse to allow independent psychological evaluations.”
UPDATE: Digby reminds us that to some U.S. officials, detainee suicides are an act of war:
Rear Admiral Harris is adamant that the people in his care are well looked after and are enemies of the United States.
He told me they use any weapon they can — including their own urine and faeces — to continue to wage war on the United States.
The suicide of three detainees, he reaffirmed to me, amounted to “asymmetrical warfare.”
Read the full CCR statement:
CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS CONDEMNS DEATH OF FOURTH GUANTANAMO PRISONER
New York, NY, May 30, 2007 — The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) today condemned the death of a fourth prisoner held without charge or trial at Guant¡namo Bay, Cuba. The detainee is Saudi but has not yet been identified by the Department of Defense.
“In the last year, the conditions at Guantanamo have become even more bleak: the military has increasingly held people in solitary confinement and continued to refuse to allow independent psychological evaluations. The United States government is responsible for this man’s death and must be held accountable,” said Wells Dixon, Staff Attorney for the CCR Guantanamo Global Justice Initiative. “By refusing to hear the men’s cases or exercise any oversight of their conditions, the judiciary contributed further to the desperation of the detainees, and Congress, in failing to restore the fundamental right of habeas corpus, dealt the final blow.”
This death comes nearly one year after the deaths of three men at Guant¡namo on June 10, 2006. The Government has still provided extremely limited information to the families and lawyers of the deceased, and challenged an attempt to preserve evidence related to the deaths.
“The legal black hole of Guantanamo is an unconscionable mistake,” said Michael Ratner, President of CCR. “Nearly three years ago, the Supreme Court in Rasul held that Guantanamo detainees have the right to challenge their detention. The right of habeas corpus must be restored and Guantanamo must be closed. No one else should have to die because of this tragic mistake.”
CCR has requested the identification of the deceased from the Department of Justice, and has demanded that the military preserve all evidence related to the deaths and the deceased. CCR has received no response yet from the Department of Justice.