Al-Hajj 'suffering from depression'

Psychiatrists say Al Jazeera cameraman could be losing the will to live.

    The US military is force-feeding hunger strikers
    at Guantanamo Bay [AFP]
    Psychiatrists Hugh Richards from Britain and D L Crisson from the US warned on Tuesday that if al-Hajj remained in the camp, his life could be in danger.
     
    Clive Stafford-Smith, al Hajj's lawyer, told Al Jazeera: "I'm incredibly worried about him.

    "Last time I saw him ... he was talking about death."

    'Immediate treatment'

    Al-Hajj, originally from Sudan, was arrested in Pakistan in December 2001 on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border by Pakistani intelligence and was handed to the US military in January 2002.

    Prisoner 345

    Find out more about the campaign to free Sami al-Hajj

    The cameraman is one of about 20 prisoners in Guantanamo Bay who have carried out a hunger strike in protest at their imprisonment and treatment at the US detention centre in Cuba.

    In July, al-Hajj had reportedly lost 18kg in weight since he began the hunger strike, according to notes from a meeting with his lawyer.

    Stafford-Smith said the US military was behaving shamefully by force-feeding hunger strikers.

    Al-Hajj has also complained that hunger strikers at Guantanamo were stripped of all their personal items except their clothes and had only a thin mat on which to sleep.

    Release stalled

    The two psychiatrists said in their letter that al-Hajj was in a constant state of fear and anxiety and felt that he was being pursued and could be killed.

    The two said al-Hajj needed immediate treatment from specialised doctors to alleviate his condition.

    The cameraman, who has been accused by the US of having links to al-Qaeda, could be released if Khartoum guarantees that he remains in Sudan.

    However, negotiations over his release stalled in August and Stafford-Smith urged the authorities in Qatar, where Al Jazeera is based, to intervene on behalf of their employee.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    The Power Worshippers: A look inside the American religious right

    The Power Worshippers: A look inside the American religious right

    An insight into the history and present of Christian nationalism, the movement behind Donald Trump's religious support.

    Mapping US police killings of Black Americans

    Mapping US police killings of Black Americans

    Black Americans are two-and-a-half times as likely as white Americans to be killed by police officers.

    From the plague to MERS: A brief history of pandemics

    From the plague to MERS: A brief history of pandemics

    What you need to know about the other pandemics that shook the world.