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Homeland Security

Pentagon Identifies Three Guantanamo Suicide Detainees

12 June 2006

The U.S. Defense Department says one of the three detainees who committed suicide Saturday at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba was due to leave the facility.

The Pentagon says Mani al-Utaybi of Saudi Arabia had been recommended for transfer to another country for continued detention, but did not say where.

President Bush has said he hoped to "empty" Guantanamo by sending some detainees home and trying the most dangerous detainees in U.S. courts.

The U.S. military described Utaybi as a member of (Jama'at Tabligh,) a recruitment group for al-Qaida and other jihadist terrorists.

It says Saudi Yassar al-Zahrani was a front-line fighter for the Taleban. And Ali Abdullah Ahmed of Yemen is listed as a mid-level to high-level al-Qaida operative.

Saudi Arabia earlier identified its two nationals who died at Guantanamo, and said it was stepping up efforts to repatriate 100 other Saudis held there.

A lawyer (Katib al-Shimary) for some Saudi detainees at Guantanamo said he holds the U.S. responsible for the deaths. But (U.S. Navy Admiral Harry Harris) the commander of the Guantanamo base in Cuba said the suicides were planned and coordinated by the detainees.

The suicides have renewed calls for the U.S. to close the facility. Swedish Foreign Minister Jan Eliasson said Sunday the European Union believes Guantanamo should be closed down. He said the detainees should be brought to trial or released.

The U.S. military says the more than 400 detainees are at Guantanamo because they had waged war against the U.S. and continue to pose a threat. So far, only 10 prisoners have been formally charged as terror suspects.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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