Guantanamo detainee lawyers blast US military for delay in suicide notification

[JURIST] Lawyers for the three Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees who committed suicide [JURIST report] have questioned why it took the US military Wednesday three days to notify them of their clients' deaths, saying the delay caused unnecessary distress for the detainees' families. The lawyers also said the failure to notify counsel of the suicides suggests that the military has not confirmed the identities of all detainees over the four years the center has operated. Guantanamo Joint Task Force Commander Harry Harris said during a June 10 press conference that the three men were not represented by habeas counsel, but that statement was corrected by a press release Tuesday. In fact, lawyers for two of the three men had filed habeas corpus petitions in federal district court in Washington, DC, to challenge their detentions. The Center for Constitutional Rights, which has been critical of conditions at Guantanamo [press release], said the group should have been identified as counsel for the third man as a result of mass legal filings the group prepared for unidentified detainees.

Though the Pentagon has rebuffed calls for an independent inquiry into the incident [JURIST report], the UN and Amnesty International have called for Guantanamo Bay to be shut down [JURIST reports], and the International Committee of the Red Cross will visit Guantanamo [JURIST report] to assess the mood of the camp in the wake of the deaths. AP has more.

 

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