SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – Three Guantanamo Bay detainees hanged themselves with nooses made of sheets and clothes, the commander of the detention center said Saturday.
They were the first reported deaths among the hundreds of men held at the base in Cuba – some of them for up to 4 1/2 years and without charge.
Article 87 of the Geneva Convention says:
Prisoners of war may not be sentenced by the military authorities and courts of the Detaining Power to any penalties except those provided for in respect of members of the armed forces of the said Power who have committed the same acts.
When fixing the penalty, the courts or authorities of the Detaining Power shall take into consideration, to the widest extent possible, the fact that the accused, not being a national of the Detaining Power, is not bound to it by any duty of allegiance, and that he is in its power as the result of circumstances independent of his own will. The said courts or authorities shall be at liberty to reduce the penalty provided for the violation of which the prisoner of war is accused, and shall therefore not be bound to apply the minimum penalty prescribed.
So there won’t ever be any charges coming. This is a war! They’re enemy combatatnts!
I also don’t recall these detainees being accused of following the Geneva Convention uniform rules:
Are members of al-Qaida entitled to Geneva Convention protections for POWs? Are Taliban fighters and Iraqi insurgents entitled to those protections, by which soldiers are to give name, rank and serial number, but never to be abused to force them to reveal military secrets?
As Alberto Gonzales is discovering, these are not just legal issues. The Geneva Conventions are international law. They are rules for the conduct of war, agreed to by civilized nations, that assumed wars would be fought between armies whose soldiers would respect these rules.
Under the Geneva Conventions, however, soldiers who fight out of uniform or commit atrocities – i.e., murder prisoners or target and kill noncombatants – may be sent before firing squads.
Wehrmacht soldiers who penetrated American lines in the Battle of the Bulge by wearing U.S. Army uniforms hastily shed them to fight in German uniforms – or else they could have been shot when captured. OSS agents, dropped behind enemy lines to kill German pilots and Nazi collaborators, knew they were not entitled to the same protections as 82nd Airborne troops dropped behind German lines on D-Day.
Would Ms. Loven rather we lined up and shot the detainees?
Back to the story:
Two men from Saudi Arabia and one from Yemen were found “unresponsive and not breathing in their cells” early Saturday, according to a statement from the Miami-based U.S. Southern Command, which has jurisdiction over the prison. Attempts were made to revive the prisoners, but they failed.
“They hung themselves with fabricated nooses made out of clothes and bed sheets,” Navy Rear Adm. Harry Harris told reporters in a conference call from the U.S. base in southeastern Cuba.
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.
The Amnesty International “pointing out the splinter in the US eye while ignoring the stacks of planks stuck in eyes around the world” response is here.