Gitmo Detainee Attempts Suicide, US Navy Cmdr Claims He's Trying to Make America Look Bad

Melissa McEwan: We have forgotten he is human. He is trying to remind us.
This post, written by Melissa McEwan, originally appeared on Shakesville

I heard this story on the BBC International morning news, which is the only place any Americans are likely to hear about it, despite the fact that it has been authenticated by US officials:
An inmate at the US detention centre in Guantanamo Bay slashed his throat with a sharpened fingernail, US officials have confirmed.
The prisoner, described by his lawyer as an Algerian held for six years, required several stitches and spent a week under psychiatric observation.
US officials characterised the incident as an act of "self-harm" rather than a suicide attempt.
...US Navy Cmdr Andrew Haynes said there was "an impressive effusion of blood" but the prisoner was treated by guards and taken to the prison clinic.
Officials would give no details of the man but lawyer Zachary Katznelson said the inmate had been held without charge for nearly six years.
Cmdr Haynes said "self-harm" incidents were a tactic to discredit US forces.
Right. Because it's impossible to imagine why someone left to rot in a prison for six years without charges, doomed to indefinite despair, would have any legitimate reason to want to end his life--except to make the people holding him look bad.

I've got a hot tip for you, Commander Haynes: You already looked bad to anyone who fondly remembers an America of not so long ago where lettres de cachet were not issued by the king to render souls sans trial to the modern-day cachots of the Bastille.

Maybe this man is a terrorist. Maybe he is not. He hasn't been charged, no less tried and found guilty. His alleged crimes have not been listed, yet he has served a six-year sentence already, with neither glimmer nor shadow of the rule of law meant to govern this nation in sight. To have the full weight of the American justice system brought down on him would be a gift; at least it would remind him he is human. Instead we have abandoned him to hopelessness, where in its gloomy bowels he knelt upon the floor, and sharpened his fingernail against stone, and plunged it into his own throat.

And then his wish to die was denied him, too.
Melissa McEwan writes and edits the blog Shakespeare's Sister.
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