Bad Reputation

From Holden:

You see, once you get a reputation for torturing prisoners even your hand-holding allies start to doubt you.

The reported suicides of two Saudi detainees at Guantanamo Bay intensified Saudi anger at the camp, drawing questions Sunday about whether the men really killed themselves or if they were driven to it by torture.

The detention of more than 130 Saudis at the U.S. jail has long grated on people in the kingdom, and there was marked skepticism that the prisoners committed suicide.

“The families don’t believe it, and of course I don’t believe it either,” said Kateb Shimri, a lawyer who represents relatives of Saudis held at Guantanamo.

“A crime was committed here, and the U.S. authorities are responsible,” Shimri said, echoing the general sentiment heard in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.


The kingdom’s semiofficial human rights organization called for an independent investigation into the deaths of the two Saudis, who were identified Sunday by Saudi officials as Mani Shaman Turki Habardi Utaybi, 30, and Yassar Talal Zahrani, 22.


Many Saudis denounced the suicide claim as a fabrication, and some accused U.S. authorities of complicity in the inmates’ deaths.

“There are no independent monitors at the detention camp so it is easy to pin the crime on the prisoners, given that it’s possible they were tortured,” said Mufleh Qahtani, deputy director of the state-sponsored Saudi Human Rights Group.

Saleh Khathlan, director of monitoring at the rights group, explicitly accused Guantanamo officials of torturing detainees.

“Even if the suicide story is true, I have no doubts that they were pushed to it by torture and the lack of attention paid to the health of the detainees,” he said.

The families of other Saudi detainees also questioned the U.S. version.

“They were killed, they were murdered, this was no suicide,” said Lulua Dakheel, whose son, 22-year-old Fahed Fouzan, has been at Guantanamo for more than four years.

Speaking through tears, she added: “There are no guarantees that my son won’t be next. These people (U.S. officials) can’t be trusted. They treat their dogs better than they treat our sons.”

Some people in the conservative Islamic kingdom questioned whether Muslim men would kill themselves since suicide is a grave sin in Islam.