SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – A detainee at the U.S. prison for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay pulled stitches out of his arm this week in what was at least his tenth suicide attempt, the Justice Department said.
Juma'a Mohammed al-Dossary, a 32-year-old prisoner from Bahrain, was hospitalized Monday after pulling out his stitches for at least the second time, the Justice Department said in a letter released by al-Dossary's attorney Saturday.
Al-Dossary also cut his bicep, the letter said, without specifying how.
"The Guantanamo staff immediately intervened," Justice Department lawyer Edward H. White wrote. "He has been treated and is currently in stable condition."
Al-Dossary's attorney, Joshua Colangelo-Bryan, has asked for a court order easing conditions for his client, who has been held at Guantanamo since February 2002.
Al-Dossary said in a meeting with Colangelo-Bryan before Monday's suicide attempt that, "he wanted to kill himself so that he could send a message to the world that conditions at Guantanamo are intolerable," according to declassified notes from their conversation, which the lawyer also released on Saturday.
Defense lawyers allege that al-Dossary, who has not been charged, has been in isolation for much of the last two years. The military has said he has regular contact with other prisoners.
Officials at Guantanamo, where the U.S. holds some 500 men described as terror suspects, did not immediately respond Saturday to an e-mail request for an update on the al-Dossary's condition. No one answered the phones at the base's press office.
Al-Dossary had attempted suicide at least nine times before this week, according to medical officials at the detention center on the U.S. Navy base in eastern Cuba.
The chief medical official at Guantanamo, Dr. John Edmondson, said in an affidavit filed last month in federal court in Washington said al-Dossary has undisclosed "mental health issues" and often has refused to take medicine or cooperate with therapists.
In October, al-Dossary slashed his arm and tried to commit suicide by hanging himself in an empty cell during a break in a meeting with his lawyer. He attempted to kill himself again by pulling out the stitches in November, the government has said.