WORLD / America

U.S.: 3 Gitmo inmates hanged themselves
Updated: 2006-06-11 09:55

Bush, who was spending the weekend at Camp David, expressed "serious concern" about the incident, White House press secretary Tony Snow said.

His immediate concerns were making sure that an investigation was being conducted and that the bodies were "treated humanely and with cultural sensitivity," Snow said.

Meanwhile, the State Department was consulting with the governments of the home countries of the three prisoners.

Amnesty International said the apparent suicides "are the tragic results of years of arbitrary and indefinite detention" and said the prison was a blight on the Bush administration.

"Today's reported suicides of detainees in Guantanamo should serve as a wake up call to President Bush and his administration that Guantanamo is not just a public relations problem, but instead an indictment on its deteriorating human rights record."

Barbara Olshansky of the Center for Constitutional Rights said in a telephone interview from New York that those held at Guantanamo "have this incredible level of despair that they will never get justice. And now they're gone. And they died without ever having seen a court."

Olshansky's group represents about 300 Guantanamo detainees. She appealed to the Bush administration "for immediate action to do the right thing. They should be taken to court or released. I don't think this country wants the stain of injustice on it for many years to come."

Pentagon officials said the three men were in Camp 1, the highest maximum security prison at Guantanamo, and that none of them had tried to commit suicide before.

That camp was also the location where two detainees tried to commit suicide in mid-May, when a riot broke out at the facility. The two men, who took overdoses of an anti-anxiety medication they hoarded, were found and received medical treatment and were recovering.
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