By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 12, 2006 – The Defense Department released the names of the three detainees yesterday who committed suicide June 10 at U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The detainees, who were found unresponsive in their cells just after midnight June 10, included a Yemeni with ties to al Qaeda, a Saudi who had been recommended for transfer to another country, and another Saudi who participated in a prison uprising in Afghanistan, military officials reported.
The three appear to have hanged themselves with nooses made of bed sheets and clothing, Navy Rear Adm. Harry B. Harris, Joint Task Force Guantanamo commander, said at a June 10 news conference. Harris said he believes the suicides were an act of "asymmetric warfare" meant to advance al Qaeda's cause in the war on terror.
Ali Abdullah Ahmed, the Yemeni, was a mid- to high-level al Qaeda operative with links to principal al Qaeda facilitators and senior membership, according to information released by DoD. Throughout his time at Guantanamo Bay, Ahmed was noncompliant and hostile to the guard force, and he was a long-term hunger striker from late 2005 to May 2006. Ahmed had been formally recommended for continued detention in Guantanamo Bay.
Mani Shaman Turki al-Habardi al-Utaybi, a Saudi, was a member of Jama'at Tabligh, a militant recruitment group for al Qaeda and other jihadist terrorist groups, according to the DoD release. Jama'at Tabligh has been used by al Qaeda to cover travel throughout the world and has been banned in Saudi Arabia since the 1980s. Utaybi had been recommended for transfer to another country for continued detention in that country.
Yassar Talal al-Zahrani, a Saudi, was an actual front line fighter for the Taliban who had traveled to Afghanistan to take up arms against anti-Taliban forces, according to the release. Zahrani facilitated weapons purchases for Taliban offensives against U.S. and coalition forces. He was captured by Afghan forces and participated in an Afghan prison uprising in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, that resulted in the November 2001 death of CIA officer Johnny Michael Spann.