6,728. 6/9/2006

“Yasser Al-Zahrani, a Saudi citizen, was captured at the age of 17 in Afghanistan. After four years in Guantanamo, on June 9, 2006 he, along with Mani Al-Tabi, and Ali Abdullah Ahmed, died under violent and mysterious circumstances. The following morning, Guantanamo commander Rear Adm. Harry Harris declared the deaths suicides, and acts of ‘asymmetrical warfare.’ None of the men had been charged with any crimes, and were not considered high-risk detainees. In fact, Al-Zahrani and Al-Tabi were close to being cleared for release from Guantanamo. Investigations into their deaths by the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) took more than two years, and its heavily redacted report, issued in August 2008, concluded that the deaths had indeed been suicides. However, the strange circumstances and contradictions surrounding the deaths remained unexplained. [Attorney] Scott Horton wrote in Harper’s magazine [on January 19, 2010]: ‘According to NCIS documents, each prisoner had fashioned a noose from torn sheets and t-shirts and tied it to the top of his cell’s eight-foot-high steel-mesh wall. 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. The NCIS report also proposes that the three prisoners, who were held in non-adjoining cells, carried out each of these actions almost simultaneously.’ ”

 – M. Cherif Bassiouni, The Institutionalization of Torture by the Bush Administration, Page 65

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