Gitmo Drives Detainees Crazy: Lawyers

As trials draw near, prisoners' mental health at issue
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2008 10:48 AM CDT
Gitmo Drives Detainees Crazy: Lawyers
A Guantanamo guard watches over detainees, not pictured, in the exercise area at Camp 5 maximum-security facility in this Oct. 9, 2007 file photo at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba.    (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Osama bin Laden's driver can't help his lawyers prepare his defense because he's been driven mad by years of isolation at Guantanamo Bay, his lawyers say. The conditions "boil his mind" and prevent a fair trial, they say, an argument that will become increasingly common as lawyers begin preparing the first war crimes trials for Guantanamo detainees, the New York Times reports.

“The issue of mistreatment of prisoners, the miserable lives they live in these cells, will come up in every case,” says one lawyer in one of 80 upcoming trials. But Guantanamo authorities say their prisoners are mentally healthier than most in the US, and that terrorists are manipulating the lawyers. “We are holding the right people, in the right place, for the right reasons, and doing it the right way,” said a spokeswoman. (More Guantanamo Bay stories.)

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