Lawyer Disputes US Claim Gitmo Rioters Were ‘Armed’

Sees Move as Attempt to Punish Hunger Strikers

US claims that Guantanamo Bay detainees had “improvised weapons” during the weekend rioting at Camp 6 have been openly dismissed by one of the defense lawyers, saying the allegations are virtually impossible given the prison’s strict limitations on detainee possessions.

Cindy Panuco, the defense lawyer in question, says she hasn’t been allowed contact with her client since the incident, and details remain scarce, but maintains there is “no way they could have any sort of weapons.

Panuco cited invasion February searches, in which even Qurans were seized as evidence that it was unlikely secreted arms could have escaped notice, and added that they don’t even allow detainees to use proper inkpens, instead forcing them to use the internal feeds from ballpoint pens, apparently unwilling to trust them even with the hard plastic of a biro pen barrel.

The US statement claimed the detainees had taped together a bunch of water bottles into a fearsome weapon of some sort, but since the US has been denying detainees bottled water for weeks, it isn’t clear how that’s even theoretically possible.

The incident began Saturday when troops moved against hunger striking detainees, intent on removing them from the prison population at large and into individual cells. Panuco speculated that the move was intended to punish strikers and force them to abandon the strike, which has been a source of considerable embarrassment for US officials.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.