Guantanamo criticised over inmate death

Report obtained by Al Jazeera indicates failings by guards at Guantanamo Bay contributed to inmate's suicide.

Last Modified: 28 Jun 2013 22:02
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Investigators said military guards and medical staff at the prison treated Latif differently [Al Jazeera]

A report by the US military into the suicide of a Guantanamo detainee last year has criticised the facility's guards and medical staff for not following correct procedure.

Al Jazeera has obtained a copy of the report into the suicide of Adnan Latif, a 31-year-old Yemeni man who overdosed on anti-psychotic medication last September.

Latif was pronounced dead on September 8, 2012, the same day that his mother died, according to the report.

Investigators said military guards and medical staff at the prison treated Latif differently from other detainees because of his outstanding mental health issues, and in many cases did not follow established rules for handling difficult detainees.

The report indicates that this failure to follow standard operating procedures made it possible for Latif to hoard various medicines in his cell, and act that should have been all-but impossible.

The report calls for improved training and coordination among medical, legal, and intelligence staff by the Guantanamo commander.

The report was released on Friday as the result of a freedom of information request.

Colonel Greg Julian, a spokesman for SOUTHCOM, told Al Jazeera that additional training had already been put in place.

"Additional training and updates to the SOPs have been implemented," he said.

"There are comprehensive programs in place now that ensure everyone receives the appropriate training, and reviews and follows the SOPs.”

Speaking to Al Jazeera over the phone, Latif's lawyer David Remes said the report should not necessarily be taken at face value. He points out that only military personnel were interviewed during the investigation.

"Detainees have not been interviewed. They reached this conclusion to avoid culpability," Remes said.

'The personnel that were interviewed would rather be seen as fools than knaves. We never expected them to be fully upfront.

"[There were] too many failures along the way for the hoarding theory to even be credible.”

'Unique issues'

The 80-page report, obtained by Al Jazeera's Rosiland Jordan, said that Latif's "unique issues" meant that "guards and medical personnel frequently treated [Latif] differently than other detainees."

According to the report, Latif, who had a 10-year-old son in Yemen, maintained his innocence saying that "his interrogators misunderstood what he asserted, and that their summary bore no relation to what he actually had stated."

The reasons for his detention were censored from the report.

While in Guantanamo, Latif was diagnosed with "Bipolar Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder with antisocial traits," according to the report, "his most recent episode was characterised as manic psychotic features, possibly affected by traumatic brain injury."

Latif had previously stated that he had left Yemen in August 2001 to seek medical treatment for head trauma he suffered in a car crash that took place in 1994.

The report outlines several episodes during which Latif became agitated in his cell and had to be restrained.

In a heavily censored section of the document, it is stated that Latif was designated "line of sight" by guards the night before he died. However, that operating guidelines for the frequency with which these guards were meant to be rotated were either not followed or unclear to the person leading the watch, who was monitoring line-of-sight guards for the first time.

"The failures by the night and day shift line of sight guards to follow the SOP, and the failure of the NCO to enforce the standards of the SOP, may have contributed to the death of [Latif] as the failures meant that the guards were not as vigilant as the SOP required in their monitoring of [Latif]," the report states.


Al Jazeera
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
UNHCR says hundreds of people trapped in Yaloke town risk death if they are not evacuated to safety urgently.
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Long-standing dispute over Christian use of the word 'Allah' raises concerns about a very un-Merry Christmas.
The threat posed by ISIL has prompted thousands of young Kurds to join the PKK.
Baja California - with its own grim history of disappeared people - finds a voice in the fight against violence.
Russian feminist rockers fight system holding 700,000 - the world's largest per capita prison population after the US.
Weeks of growing protests against Muslims continue in Dresden with 15,000 hitting the streets last Monday.