British Resident Held at Guantanamo 'Suicidal'
Robert Verkaik Law Editor, The Independent (London, England)
A British resident being held in Guantanamo Bay may be close to suicide after five years of captivity and torture at the hands of the Americans, the Foreign Secretary David Miliband has been warned in a medical report sent to the Government this week.
The report concludes that Binyam Mohamed, from Kensington, west London, is at the end of his "psychological tether" after guards at the US naval base in Cuba switched off the water supply to his cell when he began spreading his own faeces over the walls. Mr Mohamed is one of at least seven detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay who claim British residency.
Three of the men are expected to be reunited with their families before Christmas after the Government successfully negotiated their release. But the Americans have made it clear that Mr Mohamed must remain in detention to face a military tribunal on charges of terrorism.
In his letter to Mr Miliband, Clive Stafford Smith, the legal director of the UK-based group Reprieve, representing Mr Mohamed, now 29, calls for an "urgent humanitarian intervention" in his case.
Mr Stafford Smith said: "The urgency is underlined today because Mr Mohamed has been repeatedly smearing his cell walls with faeces.
"This is not because Mr Mohamed is trying to violate the rules (as the US military apparently believes), but because of his mental instability.
"The military's response is to cut the water to his cell off, compounding an obvious health hazard."
A preliminary medical opinion, commissioned by Reprieve, has found Mr Mohamed to be suffering from severe depression and post- traumatic stress disorder.
Dr Daniel Creson, a respected psychiatrist from Texas who has extensive experience in the treatment of the victims of torture, warns that the deterioration in Mr Mohamed's health suggests that he "is reaching the end of his psychological tether".
Mr Stafford Smith told Mr Miliband: "Your Government's intervention on behalf of the British residents in Guantanamo has been welcome. Perhaps my other three clients will spend this festive season at home with their families, after many years of incarceration without trial.
"Mr Mohamed will spend it in a cell smeared withfaeces. There is no prisoner in Guantanamo who has suffered more than Mr Mohamed, and I am very concerned that, without rapid intervention, he will only leave that terrible place in a casket. …