Better conditions sought for Bahrain prisoner after alleged Gitmo suicide try

A Bahraini prisoner at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay who allegedly tried to kill himself should be granted a meeting with his lawyers as soon as possible and should have the conditions of his confinement eased, his attorneys said Friday.

Lawyers for Juma'a Mohammed al-Dossary have asked a federal judge in Washington to require the U.S. government to turn over medical records related to the alleged suicide attempt, allow the prisoner to speak to his family by phone and to have an examination by independent medical experts.

The request was filed with the court Tuesday and it was reviewed by the U.S. government and cleared for public release, with some facts omitted for security reasons, on Friday, defense attorney Christopher Karagheuzoff said.

The U.S. government has not yet filed a response to the request and a Department of Defense spokesman referred questions about the case to the Justice Department.

Justice Department officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Military officials, who won't provide information about specific detainees, have not confirmed that al-Dossary tried to kill himself, but said there have been 36 suicide attempts by 22 prisoners since the U.S. began taking prisoners from the war on terror to the base in early 2002.

Al-Dossary has been kept in isolation for about two years at the U.S. base in eastern Cuba, according to his attorneys. He allegedly slashed his arm and tried to hang himself from the wall of a cell on Oct. 15 during a break from a meeting with one of his lawyers.

To prevent him from attempting suicide again, his lawyers have asked the judge to order the military to provide al-Dossary with reading materials, to allow at least one hour of outdoor exercise per day, and to give him regular contact with other detainees.

They also want the judge to order that the lights in his cell be turned off, or at least dimmed, during sleeping hours.

"We are seeking small things that we regard as necessary to try and salvage this person's mental health," Karagheuzoff said.

At Guantanamo, the United States holds about 500 men. As of Friday, there were 26 prisoners on hunger strike, including 23 who are being force-fed through nasal tubes. U.S. officials say that no detainees have died at the camp since it opened, AP reported. V.A.

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