But the motivation that makes some prisoners talk seems to drive others to more desperate measures, including 31 suicide attempts by 20 prisoners to date, none successful. Those figures help explain why the idea of indefinite detention angers some human rights advocates, who criticize Camp Delta as a legal netherworld.
The detainees aren't charged with crimes, so they are said not to be entitled to lawyers. They're not prisoners of war - "enemy combatant" is the preferred term here - so they don't receive the protection of the Geneva Convention. They're not on U.S. soil, so they have no constitutional protections.
"[The Pentagon's] concept of the legal black hole is completely contrary to what the ICRC [International Committee of the Red Cross] has interpreted the Geneva Convention to say," says Ken Hurwitz, a senior associate of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, based in New York. "They've been very clear on the subject that no [detainee] can be without a legal status."
Such interpretations cut no ice here. Or, as Sgt. Maj. John R. VanNatta, Camp Delta's superintendent, says, "I don't have to worry much about lawsuits and things like that."
But in April, the new medium-security Camp Four opened, and about 125 prisoners have earned their way inside, partly through good behavior, partly by virtually emptying themselves of useful information.
An honorable condition for every country would be that they are tried by an unbiased court of law that would ensure the reliability of the evidence and that justice be done.
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