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Leaders Weigh In on Guantanamo Suicides

DEBBIE ELLIOTT, host:

In Washington and around the world, there's sure to be more talk about the three suicide deaths reported yesterday at the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay.

Senator Specter, whose voice we just heard, told CNN that Guantanamo terrorism suspects must be tried. Some of them, he said, are being held on, quote, "the flimsiest of hearsay."

Here's what Britain's Constitutional Affairs Minister Harriet Harman had to say about the U.S. holding prisoners at Guantanamo.

Ms. HARRIET HARMAN(ph) (Constitutional Affairs Minister, Britain): If it's perfectly legal and there's nothing going wrong there, well, why don't they have it in America? And then the American court system can supervise it?

I mean the problem is that it's in Guantanamo and it's in a legal no man's land.

ELLIOTT: Britain, America's closest ally, has urged the United States to close down the camp.

A lawyer for Saudi nationals detained there says he holds U.S. authorities responsible for the deaths. Two of the men who committed suicide were Saudi nationals. A spokesman says the Saudi Interior Ministry will step up efforts to repatriate its citizens from Guantanamo. He says they will face prosecution under Saudi law.

Colleen Graffy, the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, calls the suicides, quote, "a good P.R. move to draw attention." She says the detainees don't value their own life and they certainly don't value ours. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.