USA/Cuba: Guantánamo deaths are a tragic reminder of camp's lawlessness

Camp must be closed and suicide investigation made public

Responding to yesterday’s reports of the death of three men at the US military detention centre at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, Amnesty International said:

"The news that three detainees in Guantánamo have died as a result of apparent suicide is a further tragic reminder that the USA must end the lawlessness of the facility. There have been numerous suicide attempts in the detention camp. These are apparently the first that have been successful.

"The US administration can no longer turn a blind eye to the cruelty of the regime that it has created in Guantánamo, now in its fifth year. President George W. Bush has it within his power to order an end to this human rights scandal and to ensure that detainees are either brought to fair trial or release.

"It is now three years since the International Committee of the Red Cross - the only outside organisation with access to the detainees - took the unusual step of making public its concern that the indefinite detention regime at Guantánamo was having severe psychological repercussions on the detainees.

"Last month the United Nations Committee Against Torture joined the growing calls for closure of the Guantánamo Bay detention facility, concluding that this indefinite detention without charge is itself a violation of the Convention against Torture.

"Amnesty International urges that the results of the investigation into the deaths that has been initiated by the Naval Criminal Investigation Service be made public. The families of the detainees should be informed of the deaths, as should any lawyers representing these detainees.

"Amnesty International reiterates its call for closure of Guantánamo Bay and full disclosure of all other US 'war on terror' detentions, which should be brought into full compliance with international law. It also reiterates its call for a full independent commission of inquiry into all aspects of the USA’s detention and interrogation policies and practices in the 'war on terror'."

Amnesty International is also reiterating its call for the UK government to petition for the fair trial or release of eight UK residents still held at Guantánamo. These include Jamil el-Banna, a Jordanian refugee and long-term resident of London, and Omar Deghayes, a Libyan refugee and resident of Brighton. The UK government has thus far refused to ask the US authorities for the release of seven of the men on the basis that they are not UK nationals. Amnesty International believes there are many compelling reasons why the UK government should reverse this stance, including the fact that some of the men are refugees in the UK, have families living in Britain and may be in danger if returned to countries like Libya or Jordan.

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