Manama: The country's most famous detainee at Guantanamo Bay, Juma Al Dossari, will be held for at least another year in the US-run detention facility, his lawyer told Gulf News yesterday.
"Detainees have received written decisions from the Administrative Review Boards (ARB) and Juma was told that he would be held at Guantanamo for at least another year," Joshua Bryan-Colangelo, a trial attorney and an associate with Dorsey & Whitney LLP in New York, said.
The board assesses whether detainees are "continuing threats" to the United States and should be held or released.
"The problem is that the board can decide to hold someone at Guantanamo on the basis of secret evidence or evidence gathered through torture," he said.
Lawyers are not allowed to take part in an ARB but reporters are permitted.
"During Juma's ARB, the issue of his suicide attempts was raised. Juma told the three colonels on the ARB panel that he had tried to kill himself because of torture but that he couldn't talk about it in front of the reporters who were at his ARB," the attorney said. "The panel made the media leave and then Juma described the serious abuses he has suffered. He said he believes the panel members were affected by what he told them," Bryan-Colangelo said. At the review, the panel asked Juma to convince them that he was not a danger to the US.
"Juma told the ARB that he never fought against anyone, never carried weapons and has no problems with the US. He said he is not a danger to the US and that if he were released he would not leave his house for the first 75 years," the lawyer said. A psychiatrist accompanied Juma to hear the decision.
Bryan-Colangelo voiced concern that the decision would add to the despair of Al Dossari who has tried to kill himself 10 times since his incarceration.
"We ... have no power to ask the court for his release or for changes to his living conditions.... We recently sent a letter to the military in which we pleaded that they allow Juma to live in an area where he can talk to other detainees," the lawyer said.
"The military has ignored our letter."