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US military says Guantanamo clash not prompted by Koran abuse

[JURIST] The US military has denied allegations of Guantanamo Bay soldiers desecrating copies of the Koran [JURIST report] during a May clash between prisoners and guards [JURIST report] after four prisoners attempted suicide. Military officials on Thursday stood by their original version of events [press release], saying that Joint Task Force troops were lured into a trap by staged suicide attempts, where they were ambushed by inmates brandishing homemade weapons. Furthermore, the statement claimed that inmates involved in the attack "have informed us that part of the ambush plan was to claim abuse of the Holy Koran to rally detainees to fight and as a cover story after the incident ended," and that no guard touched a Koran during the incident.

In a telephone press conference, Joint Task Force Guantanamo [official website; GlobalSecurity.org backgrounder] Commander Harry Harris said minimal force was used to quell the disturbance, which resulted in minor injuries to six inmates who were pacified with rubber bullets. A lawyer for one of the Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees involved in the incident said Wednesday that guards instigated the violence by handling the Korans of inmates during a search for contraband. AFP has more.

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