RIYADH (AFP) – The Saudi authorities ordered post-mortems on the bodies of two nationals repatriated from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, following what the US authorities said was their suicide in the controversial detention camp, relatives said.
“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,” Nahez Ghazi al-Otaibi, cousin of dead detainee Maniy bin Shaman al-Otaibi, told AFP.
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 added.
He renewed the families’ accusations that the US account that the pair hanged themselves in their cells along with Yemeni detainee Ali Abdullah Ahmed was a cover-up.
“My cousin … was a good Muslim,” Otaibi said in allusion to the religion’s prohibition on taking’s one’s own life.
“He was one of the most tortured of Guantanamo detainees … because he refused to cooperate with his US interrogators,” he added, citing the testimony of former Guantanamo detainees held with him.
“That’s why he was banned from writing to his family who received just a single letter from him by mail.”
US officials aroused worldwide outrage by describing the three suicides, the first in Guantanamo since the detention camp’s opening in 2002, as “an act of asymmetric warfare” and “a good PR move.”
The Pentagon Tuesday rebuffed calls for an outside investigation into the June 10 suicides, saying the US military could review the situation itself.
But human rights watchdog Amnesty International called for an independent investigation as “a matter of absolute urgency”.