Monday, June 12, 2006

Hang In There

Prison suicides are nothing new, and usually few people care who hangs themselves in prison or why, except the John Howard Society.

But when a few guys at Guantanamo Bay get tired of waiting for their virgins, suddenly it's an atrocity:

Three Guantanamo Bay prisoners hanged themselves with nooses made of sheets and clothes, the commander of the U.S. detention centre said Saturday.

They were the first reported deaths among the hundreds of men held at the base for years without charge.

The suicides, which U.S. military officials said were co-ordinated, triggered further condemnation of the isolated detention centre, which holds some 460 men on suspicion of links to al-Qaida and the Taliban. There has been growing international pressure on the U.S. to close the prison.

Two men from Saudi Arabia and one from Yemen were found dead shortly after midnight Saturday in separate cells, said the Miami-based U.S. Southern Command, which has jurisdiction over the prison. Attempts were made to revive them but they failed.

"They hung themselves with fabricated nooses made out of clothes and bed sheets," U.S. navy Rear Admiral Harry Harris said in a conference call from the U.S. base in southeastern Cuba.

Gen. John Craddock, commander of the U.S. Southern Command, said in the conference call the three left suicide notes but refused to disclose the contents.

One of the detainees was a mid- or high-level al-Qaida operative, Harris said, while another had been captured in Afghanistan and participated in a riot at a prison there. The third belonged to a splinter group. Their names were not released.

Considering the high rate of prison suicide, three hangings out of nearly 800 prisoners over four years is actually remarkably low. Even more remarkably so when one considers that these men are not ordinary prisoners but fanatical warriors in love with death and the vision of paradise.

If this is how a gulag operates, would that more prisons operated like gulags.

Source: Ottawa Citizen

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