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Just when you thought that Guantanamo coudn't get any more embarrassing for the U.S.A., we get this breaking news from Knight Ridder. 

2 of the men who committed suicide had lawyers, but were unaware that they were represented.  1 of the men had no lawyers and was a juvenile when first brought to Guantanamo.

continued (with Flash Slapdown)...

The Defense Department acknowledged Wednesday that Ahmed had a lawyer, a Washington, D.C., law firm. But the attorneys said they had not yet gotten all the necessary clearances to get a translator and go down and meet him. At his death, he did not know about his attorneys...

Charlotte, N.C., attorney Jeff Davis said his firm represented Utaybi, but had yet to meet him. Davis said Thursday that it had been notified more than a month ago, under a secret court filing, of the government's intent to transfer him, but Utaybi himself had not been notified...

The Center for Constitutional Rights in New York maintains that Zahrani, who would have arrived at Guantanamo as a teenager, was party to a group lawsuit of unnamed habeas corpus petitions in federal court. The U.S. military said Zahrani had no attorney...

As the Pentagon was silent Thursday on the repatriation of the bodies of the three men from the island prison, their lawyers questioned whether their isolation and lack of knowledge about their status contributed to their deaths.

What's more, the family of one of the dead men is not convinced that they, in fact, committed suicide.

In Yemen, Ahmed's father told the Associated Press did not believe his son, as a Muslim, would have committed suicide.

Utaybi's sister in Saudi Arabia echoed the sentiments, and said the family would seek an independent autopsy.

What are the chances that they will be able to get this done?  In fact, they may even be buried at Guantanamo.  According to a Democracy Now! interview with a Guantanamo Chaplain, they have land reserved at this military base for Muslim burials.

Here is former Army Chaplain James Yee (speaking to Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!) - he authored the standard operating procedure for Muslim funeral and burial rights at Guantanamo Bay:

AMY GOODMAN: First, your response to their deaths and then, can you talk about what it is that you designed in terms of burial procedures and what will happen to them now?

JAMES YEE: Right. My first response and the immediate reaction was that it was only a matter of time until one of prisoners down in Guantanamo died from a suicide attempt or something like that. When I arrived there in 2002, in November, I recall the chief medical officer at the time, Captain Al Shimkus, from the Navy, had briefed the former commander of Guantanamo, Major General Jeffrey Miller, that he expected a prisoner to die at the camp within the next two years. Now, that didn't happen and it didn't come to pass until this weekend but it almost happened in 2003 when a prisoner did attempt suicide and ended up in a coma for months.

As a result of that incident, the command asked me immediately to put together the standard operating procedure for the camp to respond to a possible or potential prisoner death. And that was the policy that I put together regarding Muslim funeral and burial rights. There is a possibility that the deceased will be buried in Guantanamo. There is a separate area allocated in the graveyard at Guantanamo for Muslim burials and they have the necessary resources that were quickly ordered anticipating that death, or that possible death, back in 2003.

All 3 men (who were said) to have committed suicide were alleged by the military to have had strong ties with the Taliban / Al Quaeda.  Of course, we'll probably never really know now.

And the U.S. military has the gall to call these suicides an act of "asymmetrical warfare"!


Guantanamo detainees unaware of defense lawyers


(EXPLORER USERS -- You'll have to click the play button twice.  There is a glitch with explorer.  It may take a second to load...)

Thanks to CNN and especially Democracy Now! for these clips! (You may make a donation at Democracy Now! at their website)

Originally posted to STOP George on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 12:43 AM PDT.

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