Claims of US cover-up over Guantanamo deaths
Three inmates at Guantanamo Bay who, according to a report by the US Navy died after all committing suicide on the same day, in fact died from suffocation inflicted during interrogation sessions, a US magazine has claimed.
In its March edition, Harper's magazine accuses the US government of perpetrating a cover-up to conceal the true cause of the deaths of the three men – Salah Ahmed al-Salami, 37, a Yemeni, and two Saudis, Talal al-Zahrani, 22, and Mani Shaman al-Utaybi, 30 – who died in June 2006.
The magazine, which has already posted the article by contributing editor Scott Horton on its web site, bases its conclusions on an examination of portions of the Navy report that were declassified and anonymous interviews with prison guards. "The cover-up is amazing in its audacity, and it is continuing into the Obama administration," Mr Horton contended.
At the time, the commander of the camp, Rear Admiral Harry Harris, said the men had committed suicide in concert with one another as "an act of asymmetrical warfare" aimed at the US. The official version of events says the three men stuffed rags down their own throats and then hanged themselves in their cells using bed sheets. However, the magazine cites guards saying the men's bodies had not been taken from the cells. They suggested the men had been in a separate building used for harsh interrogation sessions.
The guards also asserted that the day after the alleged suicides, they had been assembled by senior officers who told them that they were to stick with the official version of what had happened. "The official story... was full of unacknowledged contradictions, and the centrepiece of the report – a reconstruction of the events – was simply unbelievable," the Harper's article claims.
"Each prisoner was able somehow to bind his own hands, and, in at least one case, his own feet, then stuff more rags deep down into his own throat. We are then asked to believe that each prisoner, even as he was choking on those rags, climbed up on his washbasin, slipped his head through the noose, tightened it, and leapt from the washbasin to hang until he asphyxiated."
A spokesman for the Department of Justice said: "The Department took this matter very seriously. A number of attorneys and agents extensively and thoroughly reviewed the allegations and found no evidence of wrongdoing."
That's some guestlist! Stunning images show huge dynastic wedding between Ultra-Orthodox Jewish families which attracted 25,000 guests
Breaking: Soldier killed in Woolwich machete attack named as Drummer Lee Rigby
'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
World news in pictures
Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, the mother-of-two hailed as a hero for confronting Woolwich attackers, thought: 'better me than a child'
- 1 Breaking: Soldier killed in Woolwich machete attack named as Drummer Lee Rigby
- 2 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 3 Grace Dent: I’m not sure how these people can avoid being called ‘bigots’. And the more ‘civilised’, the worse they are
- 4 Woolwich murder: They killed, then they performed - these men should be starved of our attention
- 5 Woolwich attack: The EDL will seek to exploit this evil crime for their own evil ends
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.