Guantanamo Prison Guards, Inmates Clash

Link to story

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Prisoners wielding improvised weapons clashed with guards trying to stop a detainee from committing suicide at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the military said Friday.

The fight occurred Thursday in a medium-security section of the camp as guards were responding to the fourth attempted suicide that day at the detention center on the U.S. Navy base, Cmdr. Robert Durand said.

Detainees used fans, light fixtures and other improvised weapons to attack the guards as they entered a communal living area to stop a prisoner trying to hang himself, Durand said.

Earlier in the day, three detainees in another part of the prison attempted suicide by swallowing prescription medicine they had been hoarding.

The attempted suicides and clash occurred on the same day the military transferred 15 Saudi detainees to their country, leaving about 460 prisoners at Guantanamo. It was unclear if the disturbances were related to the transfers.

The detainees who took part in the clash with guards were moved to higher-security sections.

The medium-security Camp Four, where the clash occurred, houses detainees in dorm-style rooms that hold up to 10 people. Camp Four is for the most compliant prisoners and those who are slated for release.

Those who attempted suicide received medical treatment, the military said. Their names were not released, and military officials declined to speculate about possible motives.

This was the second reported simultaneous suicide attempt at Guantanamo, which holds detainees suspected of links to al-Qaida or the Taliban. The U.S. military said 23 detainees carried out a coordinated effort to hang or strangle themselves in 2003 during a weeklong protest in the secretive camp in Cuba.

There have been previous reports of protests and more minor disturbances at the detention center, including incidents in which detainees hurled urine and other bodily fluids at guards or banged on cell doors for hours at a time. A hunger strike that began in August has involved up to 131 detainees but now has dwindled to a handful.

Word of the clash came as a U.N. panel that monitors compliance with the world's anti-torture treaty called on the United States to close the prison.

There have been 39 suicide attempts at Guantanamo since the prison opened in January 2002, the military said. At least 12 were by Juma'a Mohammed al-Dossary, a 32-year-old from Bahrain.

Joshua Colangelo-Bryan, an attorney for al-Dossary's, said he visited his client last week and saw scars on his throat and the back of his neck from his most recent attempt in March.

Colangelo-Bryan, whose New York-based law firm, Dorsey and Whitney LLP, represents three detainees from Bahrain, said he did not know if any of his clients were involved in Thursday's incident.

The lawyer said the suicides reflect the desperation of detainees held for more than four years with no idea when, or if, they will be released.

"Under these circumstances, it's hardly surprising that people become desperate and hopeless enough to attempt suicide," he said.

Link to BBC Story covering same events
Reports now state that it wasn't a suicide attempt but a ruse designed to lure guards in and attack them. Link
There is something rather unbelievable about this whole story.Gitmo is supposed to be one of the more secure prison facilities in the world.The prisoners are apparenty under constant and intense visual and audio survellaince.How they managed to pull off an ambush of this magnitude while "armed" with crude weapons they just happened to have handy without anybody catching whiff of the plot is so unimaginable im beginning to think it didnt happen like the officials are claiming.
Devil, read the link provided by Virgil. It explains roughly the security in that particular area.

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