Detainee suicides may spur lawsuit

Attorneys and family members of three U.S. military detainees who committed suicide at Guantanamo Bay in 2006 say they will pursue a wrongful-death lawsuit, claiming the suicides were preventable.

One of those dead detainees, Mani al-Utaybi, was a client of Charlotte lawyer George Daly.

When al-Utaybi hanged himself in a Guantanamo Bay cell in June 2006, the Saudi Arabian had been close to being sent back to his homeland and freed, Daly and military officials said.

But no one told al-Utaybi.

Daly tried to let his client know during a visit that May that he had been cleared for release.

But, Daly said, U.S. military officials told him that al-Utaybi did not want to meet with him.

Attorneys for Yasser al-Zahrani, a second detainee who committed suicide that day, said they think al-Zahrani had been set to leave the prison soon.

Attorneys for the third suicide victim that day, Salah al-Sullami, said they were unaware that the Defense Department had deemed him unprosecutable because of a lack of evidence, though he had not been cleared for release.

The detainees' family members and attorneys said the captives would not have taken their lives had they known about the change in their circumstances.

Talal al-Zahrani says he is convinced that the U.S. government has been covering up wrongdoing in his son's death,

Navy Cmdr. J.D. Gordon, a Pentagon spokesman, he said it is U.S. policy not to notify detainees about releases beforehand.

Said Daly: “They would have saved themselves a world of trouble if they had, perhaps.”