Guantanamo detainee commits suicide

Friday, June 1, 2007

Guantanamo Bay

Following a number of hunger strikes to protest the conditions in Guantanamo Bay, a detainee at the United States prison camp killed himself on Wednesday.

While US officials initially refused to release the name of the prisoner, whose method of suicide has still not been announced, a Saudi Arabian government team that had been inspecting the detention centre confirmed that 34-year old Abdul Rahman al-Amri, a prisoner held in the maximum security Camp 5, had been found dead in his cell by a guard on routine patrol.

After several months spent fighting in the Tora Bora region, al-Amri surrendered himself to Pakistani police in February 2002, and was turned over to the American military who accused him of being Abu Anas, a filmmaker with close ties to al-Qaeda who had produced films about the bombing of the USS Cole and September 11th attacks.

Guantanamo Bay cellblock

A nine-year veteran of the Saudi Arabian Army, al-Amri had participated in training exercises with American troops, before he chose to travel to Afghanistan and help the Taliban resist the US-led invasion. At his Combatant Status Review Tribunal, he suggested that if his goal had simply been to "kill Americans", he had plenty of opportunity while serving on Saudi military bases - but that he had instead felt an honest call to answer a plea for help from a Muslim government.

Since being sent to Guantanamo, al-Amri had participated in multiple hunger strikes, which ended with him being strapped down and fitted with a nasal feeding tube once he fell below 90lbs. His most recent known hunger strike ended in March of this year.