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Yemen family wants Guantanamo inmate's death probed

Written by: Staff
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SANAA, June 17 (Reuters) The family of a Yemeni prisoner said to have committed suicide at the US Guantanamo Bay prison is refusing to bury him, demanding an investigation into his death, the family lawyer said today.

US authorities yesterday said it handed over the body of Ali Abdullah Ahmed and those of two Saudi inmates it says committed suicide at the prison in Cuba last week.

Their families have questioned the possibility that the men, all devout Muslims, have taken their own lives, saying that would amount to a major violation of the Islamic faith.

''The family ... is refusing to bury him and are asking for an autopsy to know the real reason behind his death,'' Khaled al-Ansi, also a human rights activist, told Reuters.

Muslims believe that the utmost honour and respect that can be given to the dead is to bury them as quickly as possible.

The US military has said the three detainees had hanged themselves with clothes and bed sheets in their cells. They were the first prisoners to die at the Guantanamo base in Cuba since Washington began sending suspected al Qaeda and Taliban captives there in 2002.

Ansi said Yemen's public prosecutor has approved a request by Ahmed's family to investigate the death.

Last Thursday, Yemen said it had asked the United States to probe the incident and expressed concern over the fate of other inmates still held at the facility.

The deaths increased pressure on the United States to close down the facility. Almost all the prisoners at Guantanamo are being held without charge and some have been detained for more than three years.

REUTERS SHB RN2006

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