May 18, 2006

Four prisoners attempt suicide at Guantanamo camp

GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE (Reuters) - Four Guantanamo
prisoners tried to commit suicide on Thursday and several
others attacked guards who rushed in to halt one of the
attempts, a camp spokesman said.

Three took overdoses of prescription medicine they had
apparently been hoarding, and the fourth tried to hang himself,
said Cmdr. Robert Durand, a detention camp spokesman. None of
the suicide attempts succeeded, he said.

"At this point, I have no idea of motive, no idea of any
co-ordination and no idea of any intended message," Durand

The attempted hanging took place in a medium-security camp
where prisoners live in groups of up to 10 men in long bays
lined with metal cots. When guards entered the unit, roommates
"tried to prevent them from rescuing the detainee by using
fans, light fixtures and other items as improvised weapons,"
Durand said.

Guards halted the attempted hanging, quelled the
disturbance and moved the roommates to a maximum-security area,
Durand said.

The three who took overdoses were treated with activated
charcoal to absorb and neutralize the medications, and two were
held for observation in the camp hospital, Durand said.

The detention camp at the U.S. naval base in Cuba holds
about 460 prisoners in five separate compounds. Durand said
guards were searching all of the cells for contraband.

The United States has faced criticism from human rights
groups and some of its allies for holding prisoners at
Guantanamo indefinitely. Some have been there since the camp
opened in January 2002.