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Guantanamo detainee attempted suicide over DOD charges later dropped: lawyer

[JURIST] A Guantanamo Bay detainee accused of involvement in the September 11 attacks [JURIST news archives] attempted to commit suicide last month, his lawyer said Tuesday. Mohammad al-Qahtani [JURIST news archive], a Saudi Arabian citizen known as the "20th hijacker" for his alleged role in 9/11, was reportedly upset about charges brought by the US Department of Defense that could have led to a death sentence against him. Those charges were dropped [JURIST report; Center for Constitutional Rights press release] last week. A Guantanamo spokesperson refused to comment on the alleged suicide attempt. AP has more.

Al-Qahtani was refused entry into the US at Orlando, Florida in August 2001 and was later captured in Afghanistan. Since his capture, he has been held at Guantanamo Bay, where Pentagon officials say he admitted to being sent to the US to participate in the attacks. In documents the Associated Press obtained in September 2007 through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) [PDF, text], he denied his involvement in and knowledge of the attacks [JURIST report]. Al-Qahtani also alleged that his statements were coerced by US torture [JURIST report]. A military investigation in 2005 concluded that al-Qahtani had been subjected to harsh treatment, authorized [JURIST report] by former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld [official profile], but concluded that he was not tortured since he was not denied food, water or medical care, and interrogators did not inflict physical pain on him.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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