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thedrifter
02-06-03, 04:14 PM
[ The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: 2/6/03 ]

Suicide attempts among prisoners at Guantanamo

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon said Thursday there has been another suicide attempt among inmates at its Guantanamo Bay prison for terrorist suspects, bringing the number to five in three weeks. An Amnesty International official called for an investigation.

"Medical and psychiatric teams are working to try to prevent further injury or attempts," Pentagon spokeswoman Navy Lt. Cmdr. Barbara Burfeind said, declining further comment.

Five new cases of prisoners trying to kill themselves have been confirmed since Jan. 16. Officials declined to say whether it was five separate men or cases of multiple attempts by any one man.

Including the 10 attempts in all of 2002, the new cases brought the total to 15 since the high-security prison was built on the U.S. naval base a year ago to house men captured in the fight against terrorism. One prisoner tried to kill himself twice, said Maj. Paul Caruso, a spokesman for the Guantanamo Bay base.

Following previous suicide attempts, the rights group Amnesty International has protested the prolonged detention and the uncertainty the men face about their future, saying it may cause physical and psychological harm.

"Clearly, five suicide attempts in a few weeks ought to give grave cause for alarm," Amnesty spokesman Alistair Hodgett said Thursday.

"At this point I think it's incumbent on the Department of Defense to investigate whether conditions of detention are contributing to these attempts -- and make the contents of that investigation public," he said.

Some of the men have been held more than a year under interrogation by the military without charges, trial or access to lawyers or their families.

The Bush administration has designated the men "unlawful combatants," saying they are not entitled to the same rights as prisoners of war but are being treated humanely. Officials decline to say exactly how many are held and what their nationalities are, though the roughly 625 men are believed to come from more than 40 countries.

The facility has shifted its handling of prisoners in recent months after coming under a new commander.

Army Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, who took over in November, said in a recent interview he was going to offer more rewards for cooperative behavior, such as chances to sleep, eat and pray together in a new medium-security detention wing. Until now, all men have been held in isolation in high-security cells.

Officials have declined to say what other changes he has instituted, though one said Miller was sent in to improve performance of interrogations at a time when officials were frustrated at the amount of information coming from stonewalling prisoners.

Brig. Gen. Rick Baccus, the previous commander in charge of detention -- meaning housing, guards, security and so on -- left in October amid complaints from some interrogators that he had been too concerned about prisoner treatment.

Miller was sent in to consolidate control over detention issues and interrogations, which had been under two commanders.

The recent string of suicide attempts started Jan. 16, when a prisoner was found hanging in his cell and a guard rescued him. His government was notified because his injuries were so serious, Burfeind said, adding that he was still hospitalized Thursday.

The four after that were treated and returned to their cells.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has said the main goal of interrogations has been to get information prisoners may have about planned attacks or terrorist organizations.

He said those who are not a threat, not candidates for trial and of no further intelligence value will be transferred from the facility. Five prisoners have gotten out so far; officials said they had no information about how many more might be under consideration for release or trials.

Rumsfeld said Tuesday that "these people are being treated properly, and the process is going along, and information's being gathered, intelligence information, and it's to the benefit of our country."

Sweden this week demanded that one of its citizens held in Cuba be tried or released.


Sempers,

Roger

Super Dave
02-06-03, 04:34 PM
Let them off themselves...I won't lose any sleep over it..

firstsgtmike
02-06-03, 05:30 PM
This country was founded on the principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The bible talks about free choice.

If a man can choose the way he lives, he can also choose the way he wants to die.

As long as he isn't interfering with anyone else's rights, don't deprive him of his.