A Guantanamo Bay prisoner tried to end his life with a sharpened fingernail last month, spilling a lot of blood but surviving.
There have been four suicides since the U.S. opened the military prison at Guantanamo in January 2002 for men suspected of involvement in terrorism or links to al-Qaida and the Taliban. Navy Cmdr. Andrew Haynes, the deputy commander in charge of the guard force, said guards administered first-aid and the prisoner was evacuated to the prison clinic for treatment.
"This certainly did not rise to the level that I would expect from a weapons inflicted wound but ... there was an impressive effusion of blood," Haynes told reporters visiting the base. He would not disclose the man's name or nationality.
He said he doubted it was a real suicide attempt, and characterized it instead as an act of "self harm."
A medical officer, who cannot be identified under military rules for journalists, said the prisoner received several stitches and spent a week under psychiatric observation.
The incident occurred while the man was taking his daily five-minute shower in early November, around the time when more than two dozen journalists were visiting Guantanamo for a military court hearing.
Haynes said there have been up to half-dozen "self harm incidents" in the two months he has been assigned to Guantanamo Bay. He described suicide as a "paramount tactic" used by prisoners to discredit U.S. forces, but defense lawyers and human rights groups say the suicides are a result of the prisoners' despair.
The military characterizes an incident as falling short of a suicide attempt if they believe there was not enough potential for death, which both Haynes and medical staff said appeared to be the case in the throat-slashing incident.