your connection to The Boston Globe

Inmate's father contends Guantanamo suicide a lie

Accuses military of killing Yemeni

TAIZ, Yemen -- The father of a Yemeni inmate recently found dead at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba rejected yesterday the US military's contentions that his son committed suicide, and accused prison authorities of killing him.

``They [the Americans] lied, and then they lied some more. My son is a religious man and a devout Muslim. There is no way he could have killed himself. They killed him," Mohammed Abdullah al-Aslami said during an interview at his home south of the Yemeni capital, San'a.

Aslami's son, Ali Abdullah Ahmed, and two Saudi inmates, Mani Shaman Turki al-Habradi al-Utaybi and Yasser Talal al-Zahrani, were found dead in their cells early Saturday.

US military officials said all three inmates committed suicide by hanging themselves, using sheets and clothes as nooses.

The three suicides were the first detainee deaths at Guantanamo -- where the United States holds about 460 men suspected of being linked to Al Qaeda or the Taliban -- and the military said they have prompted a complete review of operations at the detention center.

News of the deaths sparked renewed criticism of the US prison, which has been plagued with reports of abuse and other human rights violations in the more than four years since it opened.

There were renewed calls from around the world for its closure.

Venting his anger at President Bush, Aslami said the White House was the home of ``murderous hypocrites."

Hours later, Bush was asked about the three suicides during a news conference.

``I'd like to close Guantanamo," Bush replied. ``I also recognize that we're holding some people that are darn dangerous. Eventually, these people will have trials and they will have counsel."

Aslami urged his government to press the Bush administration to close the prison.

``The Yemeni government must show some respect to its people and talk to the Americans about the treatment of our sons in this ugly prison."

An Afghan delegation that visited Guantanamo said the conditions were ``humane."

Abdul Jabar Sabhet of the Afghan Interior Ministry said that he and his delegation were permitted to speak freely with all 96 Afghan prisoners and that there were ``only one or two" complaints.

``Conditions of the jail were humane. There were rumors in this country about that. It was wrong. What we have seen was OK," he said in Kabul.

Today (free)
Yesterday (free)
Past 30 days
Last 12 months
 Advanced search / Historic Archives