One of the three detainees who committed suicide at GuantÃ¡namo Bay was due to be released but had not been told, the man’s lawyer said today.
Mark Denbeaux, an American law professor who represents some of the foreign prisoners at the US-run jail for terrorism suspects in Cuba, told the BBC World Service that Mani Shaman Turki al-Habardi al-Utaybi was among 141 prisoners due to be released.
They’re all hardened jihadists in there, though, so don’t shed a tear for them:
Fewer than half were caught on battlefields in Afghanistan or by U.S. troops. A majority were turned over by Pakistan (often for cash bounties). Few “combatants” are even accused of having fought. Many are held simply because they were living in a house associated with the Taliban or working for a charity linked to the group.
It seems that U.S. forces, inundated by thousands of captives after the Afghan war, didn’t have enough experienced interrogators and interpreters to sort out the actual terrorists from Arabs unaffiliated with Al Qaeda. But they were under pressure to get results and unwilling to believe that their Pakistani allies could deceive them. Prisoners who claimed to know nothing were subjected to increasingly brutal treatment until some confessed or accused others.
The people who killed themselves in that prison were just as likely victims of bad luck as terrorists. Whatever a “terrorist” even is, these days.