The Department of Defense announced today that it repatriated remains of three detainees who died of apparent suicides on June 10, 2006, from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
Two Saudis and one Yemeni, each located in Camp 1, were found unresponsive and not breathing in their cells by guards. Medical teams responded quickly and all three detainees were provided immediate emergency medical treatment in attempts to revive them. The U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service has initiated an investigation, per standard operating procedure, to determine the cause and manner of death.
The remains of the deceased detainees have been treated with the utmost respect. A cultural advisor has assisted Joint Task Force Guantanamo to ensure that the remains are handled in a culturally and religiously appropriate manner.
Throughout their response to this event, JTF Guantanamo worked diligently to preserve the dignity of the remains and to ensure application of the rituals of the Islamic faith. To ensure these rites were properly observed, a Muslim Imam, U.S. Navy Lt. Saifulislam, was assisted by Muslim members of the command’s staff, and supervised all aspects of preparing the remains for transport.
DoD and the Department of State worked closely with the home governments to facilitate the return of the detainee remains as quickly as possible.
Detainees are held at JTF Guantanamo because they are dangerous and continue to pose a threat to the U.S. and our allies. They have expressed a commitment to kill Americans and our friends if released. These are not common criminals, they are enemy combatants being detained because they have waged war against our nation and they continue to pose a threat.