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Ex-detainee disputes triple suicide report

Gulf News
By Habib Toumi
June 25, 2006

Manama. A former Bahraini Guantanamo Bay detainee on Saturday disputed the prison camp triple suicide report by US authorities.

"The three brothers who died last Saturday were, based on my own knowledge about them and my relationship with them, totally innocent," said in a statement sent to Gulf News. "They were not even accused of any crime by the US military."

Al Nuaimi who was freed last November said that Manei Al Otaibi, Yasser Al Dahrani and Ali Abdullah had memorised the Holy Quran and were deeply religious. Islam forbids Muslims from committing suicide or engaging in harmful activities.

"Otaibi and Abdullah told me that they were studying in Pakistan when they were seized. I do not know if they were together when they were arrested, but they were sold out when they were living in a house and turned over to American custody in 2002," Al Nuaimi said.

Many former detainees complained that they had been sold out to the US authorities after they had contacted authorities in Pakistan seeking protection and help.

According to Al Nuaimi, Al Otaibi and Abdullah had been told by the military interrogators and authorities that they were not regarded as threats and that they would be going home soon.

"The interrogations dealt with them only during the first month of their detention. For more than a year before I left Guantanamo in November 2005, they were left alone. But they were still held in bad conditions in the camp by the guards," he said.

Al Nuaimi, 24, added that the third detainee, Yasser, was too young to be in Guantanamo.

"He was 21 when he died, barely the legal age in most countries, and was merely 16 when he was picked up four and half years ago. His age shows that he is not even supposed to be taken to a police office; he should have been turned over to the underage [juvenile] authorities," he said.

Al Nuaimi added that young boys were being held at the US-run prison. "I have seen 13-year-old and 15-year-old kids sitting together. Where are their governments? What are the human rights communities doing to protect those young people?"

The former detainee No 159 called upon activists to be allowed to visit Guantanamo and assess the conditions and the age of the inmates.

"If the US has nothing to hide, why doesn't it let people go in there, see the circumstances and tell the international community?"

Al Nuaimi said that the US administration "cannot keep people in detention as a political currency. There is a limit and they must pay attention to it."

"After all, the US administration did not benefit anything from keeping people like Manei, Yasser and Ali in detention to use for political issues, like putting pressure on countries to give them something for their return to their families. This political card has already expired," he said.

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