Single Round Fired at Gitmo as Tensions Mount

Lawyer says detainees growing more desperate

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 6, 2013 11:52 AM CST

(Newser) – The US military is admitting a Guantanamo guard fired "one non-lethal round" at prisoners in a Jan. 2 incident, possibly marking the first gunfire response inside the detention camp, reports the Miami Herald. (Rubber bullets may have been used during a 2006 prisoner uprising.) The event occurred on the soccer field, when one prisoner attempted to climb a fence in an apparent bid for attention. After a guard emerged from the guard tower with a rifle, several prisoners threw rocks at him, says a Gitmo rep. The guard responded by firing the round, then “the crowd immediately stopped throwing rocks and became compliant," according to the prison statement.

The rep said no one was hurt, though a lawyer contends one prisoner sustained a throat injury. That attorney said the event is evidence of mounting tensions at the camp, where detainees have been growing increasingly desperate. And the Herald notes the location of the incident—Camp 6—is a notable one; that's where the cooperative captives are housed. The camps' rep says the provocation may have been an attempt to shift media attention their way: "There is a belief that public pressure, that keeping Guantanamo in the news by whatever means, will help them. The detainees' behavior dictates the guard force response."

In this photo taken May 13, 2009, a Guantanamo detainee holds a soccer ball, just before dusk, inside the exercise yard at Camp 4 detention facility, at Guantanamo Bay US Naval Base, Cuba.
In this photo taken May 13, 2009, a Guantanamo detainee holds a soccer ball, just before dusk, inside the exercise yard at Camp 4 detention facility, at Guantanamo Bay US Naval Base, Cuba.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
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