A Guantanamo Bay prisoner slashed his throat with a sharpened fingernail last month, spilling a lot of blood but surviving, a U.S. military commander said Tuesday.
Guards administered first-aid and took the prisoner to the prison clinic, said Navy Cmdr. Andrew Haynes, the deputy commander in charge of the guard force.
“There was an impressive effusion of blood,” Haynes told reporters visiting the base. He would not disclose the man’s name or nationality. A medical officer, who could not be identified under military rules for journalists, said the prisoner received several stitches and spent a week under psychiatric observation.
Zachary Katznelson, of the British rights group Reprieve, said he was one of two lawyers representing the prisoner and identified him as an Algerian who has been held at Guantanamo without charges for nearly six years. The detainee was to meet with one of his lawyers for the first time this week.
Katznelson said he could not release the man’s name without his consent.
There have been four suicides since the U.S. opened the military prison at Guantanamo in January 2002 for men suspected of involvement in terrorism or links to al-Qaida and the Taliban.
Haynes said he doubted the latest incident was a real suicide attempt, and characterized it instead as an act of “self-harm.”
The incident occurred while the man was taking his daily five-minute shower in early November, around the time when more than two dozen journalists were visiting Guantanamo for a military court hearing.
Haynes said there have been up to half-dozen “self-harm incidents” in the two months he has been assigned to Guantanamo Bay. He described suicide as a “paramount tactic” used by prisoners to discredit U.S. forces. But defense lawyers and human rights groups say the suicides are a result of the prisoners’ despair.
Many of the 305 men held at Guantanamo have been there for more than five years without charge. The military has said it plans to prosecute up to 80 of the prisoners.
In other developments, a Guantanamo prison manual from 2004 that was posted anonymously on the Internet Tuesday indicated that some detainees were prevented from having any contact with representatives from the International Committee of the Red Cross. The military said it could not immediately confirm the document’s authenticity.
The Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents many Guantanamo detainees, called on the military to make public its current operations manual following the appearance of the purported 2004 prison manual.
Restrictions about access to Red Cross officials were also described in a 2003 Guantanamo manual that was posted on the Internet last month, and which the military confirmed was authentic.
“After the release of the 2003 manual, the Pentagon claimed that the manual was replaced and the concerns raised were no longer valid,” said Emi MacLean of the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights. “What we see in the 2004 manual is more of the same.”
A Guantanamo spokesman, Army Lt. Col. Edward Bush, said the military has not yet confirmed that the latest posting is a real copy of the detention center’s rules but added that it would be irrelevant if it were real.
“It’s a snapshot from almost four years ago,” Bush said. “Conditions have changed immeasurably.”
The Red Cross now has “unlimited access to all aspects of the camp,” he added.
The manual, dated March 2004, also provided guards with detailed instructions for intelligence gathering, urging them to listen to detainees’ conversations for personal details “that can be exploited by interrogators.” Guards are also warned not to discuss current events within earshot of the detainees or teach them English phrases.
Another Guantanamo spokesman, Navy Cmdr. Rick Haupt, said the military would not discuss the contents of current procedures “for reasons of personnel safety and operational security.”
Source: AP via Yahoo!