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Monday, June 19, 2006


Riyadh, 19 June (AKI/DAWN) - Saudi authorities have ordered post-mortems on the bodies of two nationals repatriated from the US prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.The two men and a Yemeni inmate were found dead in their cells on 10 June and had apparently committed suicide. The autopsies are being carried out with the permission of the Saudi men's families. The family of the Yemeni man said to have committed suicide is refusing to bury him, demanding an investigation into his death.

Nahez Ghazi al-Otaibi, cousin of one of the dead men, Manie bin Shaman al-Otaibi, was quoted as saying: "With our agreement, the authorities ordered post-mortems on the two bodies to establish the real cause of death before they are handed back to us."

The families of both Otaibi and the other dead Saudi, Yasser Talal Al Zahrani, were able to see their bodies shortly after their repatriation by the US authorities, the cousin said. He renewed the families’ accusations that the US account that the pair hanged themselves was a cover-up.

The European Parliament on 13 June reiterated its past call to US president George W. Bush's administration to shut down the notorious Guantanamo Bay detention centre. The joint resolution, adopted by a large majority of Euro-MPs, has no legal weight but is an indication of the level of EU concern over Guantanamo.

There have been dozens of unsuccessful suicide attempts at Guantanamo Bay, which holds some 460 prisoners - some of whom have been detained there for over four years without charge. There have been widespread allegations of torture and mistreatment of Guantanamo Bay detainees and concerns have been raised over the mental health of inmates, some of whom are still believed to be minors.

Last year, leading rights group Amnesty International published a report group that likened Guantanamo to a Soviet-era gulag - charges dismissed by Bush as "absurd".
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