Amnesty International (AI) has called for a fully independent investigation led by civilians into the death of a Saudi Arabian national at Guantánamo after an apparent suicide. On 30 May the US Department of Defense announced the death but did not release the man's identity or other details.
This tragedy further demonstrates the urgent need to close Guantánamo without delay. If the US authorities do not act immediately, AI fears that there could be more deaths. US lawyers who have visited the camp recently have expressed serious concern about the mental state of a number of their clients.
In a recent letter to his lawyer, Bahraini national Jumah al-Dossari, who has already attempted suicide at least 12 times wrote:
"I can say that life and death here are equal, but death has become my greatest hope to end my misery, suffering and sad life... We die here a hundred times a day, and I swear to God if I have the opportunity, I would end my life; the life of misery, torture and terror I live at the hands of those people.... I am looking for an end to my life; for an opportunity that have not come yet. I am a human being, but a dead one without rights, dignity, humanity or identity."
Also, the US authorities must act immediately to improve conditions for those detained. Many of those held, particularly those in Camps 5 and 6, are in extremely harsh, permanent conditions of extreme isolation and sensory deprivation.
The death comes nearly one year after 3 other men, two Saudi Arabian nationals and one Yemeni national, died at Guantánamo after apparent suicides on 10 June 2006.
Amnesty International reiterates its call for independent human rights monitors to be given full, unlimited access to the detainees at Guantánamo. All detainees should be allowed regular contact with their families and independent health care professionals should be able to examine detainees in private.