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Gitmo inmates' suicide notes talk of martyrdom

/ Source: The Associated Press

Suicide notes found in the pockets of three Guantanamo inmates who hanged themselves simultaneously in 2006 expressed their desire for martyrdom, military investigators said Friday.

The notes left by the two Saudis and the Yemeni who hanged themselves with bed sheets were worded similarly and raised concerns that another prisoner at the U.S. Navy base directed them to kill themselves, according to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

But the agency, which said in its statement that it had closed the investigation, did not establish the suicides were coordinated by anybody else.

The Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents many Guantanamo detainees, said the suicide victims' families are still waiting for a full accounting of the deaths.

"The families are outraged," said Emi MacLean, a staff attorney for the center. "This kind of basic analysis that's not supported by any evidence after two years is not going to assuage family members' concerns."

Acts of 'asymmetric warfare'
The suicides on June 10, 2006, were the first detainee deaths at the military prison that opened in 2002. The commander of the detention facilities at the time, Navy Rear Adm. Harry Harris, described them as acts of "asymmetric warfare" — an effort to increase condemnation of Guantanamo.

Human rights groups said the suicides reflected the men's despair over their indefinite detention without charges.

The three men used blankets and sheets to block the guards' view in a case that prompted the military to adopt new security measures aimed at preventing such deaths, including more frequent cell checks. They were found unresponsive two-and-half hours after they were last seen alive, according to the statement.

Investigators were later told that another detainee who did not commit suicide walked through the cell block earlier that night telling people "tonight's the night."