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Lingering questions about the deaths in custody

ABDUL RAHMAN MA ATH THAFIR AL AMRI (ISN 199)


ALI ABDULLAH AHMED (ISN 693)


MANA SHAMAN ALLABARDI AL TABI (or MANI SHAMAN TURKI AL HABARDI) (ISN 588)


YASSER TALAL AL ZAHRANI (ISN 93)

 

CSHRA Note

A close reading of the autopsies and the declassified portions of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service file released by the Department of Defense under a FOIA request raises more than a few questions, namely:

  • Why did the prisoners have their hands tied when they were found hanging in their cells? (NCIS185, NCIS950, NCIS1012, NCIS958, AUTO693-1)
  • Is it even possible to tie one's own hands?
  • Why were the prisoners gagged with cloths? They were already going to kill themselves by silent suffocation through hanging; why suffocate themselves silently twice? (NCIS966, NCIS975, NCIS1073f, NCIS1079, NCIS1091)
  • Why did all three prisoners have masks—or mask-like contraptions—on their faces as they hanged? (AUTO693-1, NCIS950, NCIS990f)
  • Could they have hanged themselves bound, masked, and gagged?
  • Why was there a bloody T-shirt around the neck of one of the prisoners found hanging in his cell? (NCIS1113)
  • How could the prisoners get the additional sheets to weave into nooses, pillows to confection bedded dummies, and cloths with which to gag themselves?
  • Rigor mortis had begun to set in on the prisoners when they were discovered. Consequently, they had to have been hanging for two hours before they were discovered. According to Standard Operating Procedures, each of the prisoners had to be visually inspected every 10 minutes. That means 6 inspections per prisoner per hour, or 36 inspections overall. How could the guards have missed the hangings in 36 visual inspections? (NCIS1025, NCIS1070, NCIS1078f, AUTO693-2, AUTO588-7)
  • Why were the neck organs (the larynx, the hyoid bone, and the thyroid cartillage) removed from one of the corpses? According to subsequent autopsies done privately, these would be essential in establishing whether or not hanging was the cause of death (AUT693-5)
  • Why is there a page missing from a log book begun on the day the deaths were discovered and recording the entries and exits to the cell block where the suicides took place? (NCIS1354)

The information about the gagging came early. Col. Michael Bumgarner, one of the commanders at Guantánamo, declared to the press that the prisoners found hanging on June 10, 2006 "each had a ball of cloth in their mouth" (see The Charlotte Observer, June 13, 2006).

The prisoners on cells A5, A8, and A12 had ISNs 693, 093, and 588, respectively (NCIS938).

 


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