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Guantanamo detainees were tortured to death, say families

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WASHINGTON — The families of two detainees who died in Guantanamo Bay in 2006 on Monday challenged the government’s assertion that the prisoners committed suicide, saying they were tortured to death.

Relatives of Saudi national Yasser al-Zahrani and Yemeni Salah al-Salami demanded the federal appeals court reconsider their cases in light of new information, including eyewitness accounts from four US military guards.

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“They have direct eyewitness accounts of a cover-up of the actual circumstances of the deaths” their attorney, Padriss Kebriaei, said, adding that both the Bush and Obama administrations maintain they were suicides.

At the time of their deaths, Al-Zahrani, 21, and Al-Salami, 33, had been detained without charge and held incommunicado for about four years at the US base in southeastern Cuba.

The Pentagon maintains that the two men, along with a third detainee whose family is not party to the complaint, committed suicide by hanging themselves in their cells.

But Joe Hickman, a US soldier who was on guard duty in a watchtower the night of their deaths, said he had seen three detainees escorted by van to a secretive site outside the main compound known as “Camp No.”

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“Guards nicknamed the facility ‘Camp No’ because anyone who asked if it existed would be told, ‘No, it doesn’t,'” the families’ petition said.

The van later dropped off the the three bodies at a medical facility, where Hickman was told the prisoners had swallowed rags.

Last November the Justice Department concluded that “the gist of Sergeant Hickman’s information could not be confirmed.”

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But Talal al-Zahrani, the father of one of the inmates, said that when he was invited to retrieve the body he saw “all the traces of torture, on his face, on his chest, on his head.”

“I refused to sign the form that was given to me by the authorities claiming falsely that he had committed suicide. It was very clear he didn’t.”

A subsequent medical exam revealed that his son’s esophagus had been ripped out and his body bore signs of torture, including several injection marks on his hands, according to Zahrani.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Wisconsin political professor shatters the biggest misconception about Trump’s base with a revealing poll

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One of the most enduring ideas the general public, and especially Democrats, have about President Donald Trump's supporters is that they are bound by an unflappable, cult-like devotion to the president that transcends any sort of logic, reason, or reservations.

But in a lengthy thread on Twitter Tuesday, former University of Wisconsin-Madison professor and Marquette Law School Poll Director Charles Franklin revealed polling data that show this isn't quite true. There are plenty of solid Trump partisans — but voters supporting Trump are, on average, less attached to him than voters opposing Trump are repelled by him:

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Trump told NRA’s Wayne LaPierre he’s not ‘waffling’ anymore — background checks are off the table

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President Donald Trump made a congratulatory phone call to National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre to let the far-right organization know that the White House was reversing itself and would not be supporting universal background checks for firearms sales.

Following shooting massacres in Gilroy, California, El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, Trump had argued the time was now for background checks.

"Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks," Trump argued. "Perhaps marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform. We must have something good, if not GREAT, come out of these two tragic events!"

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Three more major NRA leaders are out — as gun group continues downward spiral

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Tuesday, three more members of the National Rifle Association have stepped down making it a total of seven NRA board members to leave in the last several months, CNN reported.

The first three were board members who complained about the money NRA chief Wayne LaPierre used to pay for a Beverly Hills wardrobe. Their responsibilities were cut and they left shortly after.

Professional sports shooter Julie Golob left the board just one week ago before her three-year term was up.

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