On November 1, 2005, in New York, attorneys for Jumah Al Dossari, the Bahraini national who made a desperate suicide attempt during a visit with his attorney two weeks ago, today filed papers asking for immediate access to Mr. Al Dossari. Mr. Al Dossari is represented by the firm of Dorsey & Whitney, and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) the legal group which spearheads the litigating efforts on behalf of the 500 plus men at Guantánamo.
On October 8th, 2005, during a visit with his attorney, Joshua Colangelo-Bryan, Mr. Al Dossari asked to use the bathroom. After a few moments, Colangelo-Bryan opened the door to check on his client (after hearing the toilet flush). He saw Mr. Al Dossari, hanging by his neck from the upper part of the mesh wall that separates the cell area from the meeting area. He had cut his arm and was bleeding. He was unresponsive. Mr. Colangelo-Brian called for help; Mr. Al Dossari was taken by U.S. Military personnel to the hospital at Guantánamo. Colangelo-Bryan has not heard from nor seen Jumah since he was taken from his cell on a stretcher. He has only been informed that Mr. Al Dossari was taken to the Naval Hospital where he had surgery on his arm.
According to his attorneys, Mr. Al Dossari has been held at Guantánamo for nearly four years even though he has not been charged with a crime. For almost two years, the military has held him in near complete isolation and have subjected him to abusive interrogations, threatening his life and family and humiliating him sexually. “Given these inhumane conditions, how could anyone be surprised that Jumah and others like him have decided that it is better to end their lives than live as they do?” said Colangelo-Bryan.
In lieu of these disturbing events, Mr. Al Dossari’s attorneys today filed a motion in Federal Court in Washington, D.C., seeking the following:
· A face to face meeting with Mr. Al Dossari as soon as possible, regardless of whether he remains hospitalized;
· Independent medical professionals to assess the psychological and physical condition of Mr. Al Dossari;
· Copies of all medical records relating to Mr. Al Dossari's recent suicide attempt;
· That Mr. Al Dossari be permitted to have bi-weekly telephone calls with a member of his family and counsel as contemplated by the Revised Procedures for Counsel Access, VIII(A), in the case of “special circumstances”;
· Permission for Mr. Al Dossari to view a DVD to be prepared by his family containing personal greetings and expressions of concern;
· Permission to receive English-language children's books, introductory English/Arabic textbooks, traditional religious texts, and Arabic-language novels, following appropriate review by authorities at Guantánamo;
· No less than an hour of exercise per day;
· For the lights in Mr. Al Dossari’s cell to be turned off, or at least dimmed, during sleeping hours; and
· To be incarcerated under circumstances that permit regular interaction with other detainees.
The attempt to end his life was not Jumah’s first. Former Guantánamo Military Intelligence interpreter and whistleblower Eric Saar detailed in his book, Inside the Wire, the attempt of a detainee to end his life while in the shower. That detainee was Jumah Al Dossari. Other detainees (current and former) have confirmed numerous instances of abuse Jumah has suffered in their accounts to press and attorneys.
Bill Goodman, Legal Director with the Center for Constitutional Rights stated, “This case illustrates yet again the outrageous, illegal and immoral treatment of men who have not been charged with any crime. It’s time for it to end.”
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.