A U.S. military investigation found Guantánamo troops didn’t follow their own rules, allowing a captive to take a fatal overdose of an anti-psychotic drug a day after he was moved into a disciplinary cell from the detention center’s psychiatric ward.
A 79-page report, released Friday under the Freedom of Information Act, showed the “standard operating procedures,” or SOP, governing the U.S. Army Military Police required soldiers to regularly check on captives kept in solitary cells at Camp 5, Guantánamo’s maximum-security lockup.
Troops didn’t do it for at least two shift changes before Yemeni captive Adnan Latif was discovered dead on the floor of his Camp 5 cell at the U.S. Navy base in southeast Cuba on Sept. 8, 2012.
Rather than check on him, Guantánamo troops thought they were letting him sleep for about 15 hours — through a 4 a.m. medication call, the 4:55 a.m. pre-dawn prayer, breakfast, lunch, offers of two hours in a prison recreation yard and the noon call to prayer.
In one instance, a medic stopped by his cell at 4 a.m. to give him a dose of the drug that ultimately killed him. Because Latif didn’t wake up, the medic left the drug on a shelf within reach of his cell door. It was still there when guards realized he was “unresponsive” 10 hours later.
“The failures by the night and day shift line of sight guards to follow the SOP … may have contributed to the death” of Latif, the report by U.S. Southern Command investigators found. “The failures meant that the guards were not as vigilant as the SOP required in their monitoring” of Latif.
While the report found troops failed to follow their own procedures, no soldier or sailor at the detention center was disciplined or relieved of duty as a result of the investigation, said Army Col. Greg Julian, the Southcom spokesman, on Friday afternoon.
Latif, in his 30s, had been held at the Pentagon prison camps for more than a decade. He had been diagnosed as mentally ill and frequently threatened suicide. He was cleared for release as long ago as 2004 but, because Yemen has an active al-Qaida offshoot, he and dozens of other Yemeni prisoners were kept at Guantánamo.
In death, he spent months in a morgue-like storage facility in Germany while U.S. officials negotiated the return of his remains for burial in December — making him the last Guantánamo prisoner released by the Pentagon.
I’ve seen murderers do less time than the Guantanamo Bay prisoners.