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Detainee Who Died Denied Lawyer Visits

Posted Jun 1, 2007 12:29 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The Guantanamo Bay detainee found dead in an apparent suicide had never been given the opportunity to see a lawyer and had never been charged with a crime.

A Pentagon official told the Washington Post that the detainee was not allowed to meet with lawyers because he had not been named as a plaintiff in any habeas action.

The detainee was identified as Abdul Rahman Ma'ath Thafir al-Amri, a Saudi army veteran who trained with U.S. forces before traveling to Afghanistan to fight with the Taliban.

The Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City said yesterday that Amri was a party to litigation against the Bush administration. The center represents many Guantanamo detainees.

J. Wells Dixon, a lawyer with CCR, told the Post that Amri’s death shows the precarious mental state of the detainees. "We have actively tried to see him and the other detainees, and the government has prevented that," he said.

The New York Times reports that Amri was a persistent hunger striker and that his weight had once dropped to 88 pounds.

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