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New Revelations About GITMO “Suicides”, Attorneys for Families of the Deceased Call for International Tribunal To Investigate

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press@ccrjustice.org

May 16, 2014, New York – Today, in response to new revelations published in Harper’s Magazine regarding the deaths of three Guantánamo prisoners in June 2006, the Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents the families of two of the men who died, issued the following statement:

The new eyewitness account of what happened on the day three men died at Guantanamo adds to the growing body of information strongly undercutting the military’s narrative that the men committed suicide in their cells, and suggesting that the men were instead killed at a CIA-run black site at Guantánamo known as “Camp No” or “Penny Lane.” There has never been an impartial and effective investigation into the deaths, and the heavily-redacted version of the military investigation the government was compelled to release is riddled with inexplicable gaps and inconsistencies. One of those gaps was the document published today by Harper’s, which was apparently deliberately removed from the military’s public report.
 
The families’ attempt to seek the truth about these deaths was met with dismissal by the district and circuit courts in D.C., on the grounds that even if federal officials had been involved in the homicides, the courts were powerless to grant a remedy. The families have now turned to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which should accept their petition, investigate the violations of international law they have alleged, and uphold their right – and the public’s right – to know the truth about what happened.
 
The Center for Constitutional Rights represents the families of Yasser Al-Zahrani of Saudi Arabia and Salah Al-Salami of Yemen, two men who died at Guantánamo in June 2006 along with a third detainee, Mani Al-Utaybi of Saudi Arabia. At the time of their deaths, Al-Zahrani and Al-Salami had been detained for more than four years without charge. Al-Zahrani was 17 years old when he taken into custody, and was apparently slated for repatriation at the time of his death. CCR is currently asking the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to investigate the deaths.

For documents on the petition before the IACHR and the original U.S. case, visit Al-Zahrani v. Rumsfeld.

CCR has led the legal battle over Guantanamo for over eight years and has been responsible for organizing and coordinating more than 500 pro bono lawyers across the country in order to represent the men detained there. CCR also works with men who were formerly detained and their families to seek justice and accountability for the abuses suffered during their imprisonment.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.