The Mysterious Deaths of 3 Guantánamo Prisoners

Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Yasser Talal al-Zahrani, arrested at age 17, died in custody age 21

On June 10, 2006, three Saudi prisoners at Guantánamo Bay were found hanging in their separate cells—hands and feet tied, gags in their mouths—but the U.S. military ruled the deaths a well-coordinated group suicide intended to make the United States look bad. A review of the military’s investigations by the Center for Policy and Research at Seton Hall University’s Law School produced many unanswered questions relating to how the three men managed to kill themselves and remain unnoticed for at least two hours in a prison where constant supervision of cells, by video and patrolling guards, is mandatory and where the guards were in charge of only 28 prisoners. 

In order to accept the official explanation of the death of three prisoners, it is necessary to believe that each of them:
1)      braided a noose by tearing up their sheets or clothing
2)      hung the noose from the metal mesh of the cell wall or ceiling
3)      made a mannequin of himself to trick the guards into thinking he was asleep in his bed
4)      hung a sheet to block the view into his cell
5)      tied his feet together
6)      shoved rags into his mouth and down his throat
7)      tied his own hands together
8)      climbed up onto the sink, put the noose around his neck and jumped off, causing death by strangulation
The report also notes a lack of explanation “of why the guards were ordered not to provide sworn statements about what happened that night,” “why the government seemed to be unable to determine which guards were on duty that night in Alpha Block,” and “why no one was disciplined for acts or failures to act that night.”
-David Wallechinsky, Noel Brinkerhoff
Death in Camp Delta (Center for Policy and Research, Seton Hall University Law School) (pdf)
Yasser Talal Al Zahrani (Caged Preisoners)


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