SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Pentagon identified on Sunday the three Guantanamo detainees who committed suicide, saying one had ties to al-Qaida, another fought for the Taliban and a third had been cleared for transfer to another country.
Saudi Arabians Mani Shaman Turki al-Habardi Al-Utaybi and Yassar Talal Al-Zahrani — identified earlier by Saudi officials — and Yemeni Ali Abdullah Ahmed hung themselves with nooses made from sheets and clothing early Saturday, the department said in a statement released to The Associated Press.
Al-Utaybi had been recommended for transfer to the custody of another country before his suicide, the Defense Department said. It did not name the country but said he would have been under detention there as well.
Lt. Cmdr. Robert Durand, a spokesman for the Guantanamo detention center, said he did not know whether al-Utaybi had been informed about the transfer recommendation before he killed himself.
U.S. authorities allege Ahmed, 28, was a mid- to high-level al-Qaida operative who had key ties to principal facilitators and senior members of the group. Throughout his time in Guantanamo, he had been non-compliant and hostile to the guard force, and was a long-term hunger striker from late 2005 to May 2006, the Defense Department said.
According to a Department of Defense list of Guantanamo detainees, Ahmed was born in Shebwa, Yemen.
Al-Zahrani, 21, was accused by the U.S. of being a frontline fighter for the Taliban who facilitated weapons purchases for offensives against U.S. and coalition forces.
He was allegedly involved in a prison uprising in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan that resulted in the death of CIA officer Johnny Michael Spann. Al-Zahrani was born in Yenbo, Saudi Arabia, according to the Defense Department.
The U.S. military accused al-Utaybi, 30, of being a member of a militant missionary group, Jama’at Al Tablighi. He was born in Al-Qarara, Saudi Arabia, according to the Defense Department list.
None of the three had been formally charged.
Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.