An al-Jazeera journalist captured in Afghanistan six years ago and sent to Guantanamo Bay is close to becoming the fifth detainee at the US naval base to take his own life, according to a medical report written by a team of British and American psychiatrists
Sami al-Haj, a Sudanese national, is 250 days into a hunger strike which he began in protest over his detention without charge or trial in January 2002. But British and American doctors, who have been given exclusive access to his interview notes, say there is very strong evidence that he has given up his fight for life, experiencing what doctors recognise as "passive suicide", a condition suffered by female victims of Darfur.
Dr Dan Creson, a US psychiatrist who has worked with the United Nations in Darfur, said Mr Haj was suffering from severe depression and may be deteriorating to the point of imminent death.
Mr Haj, 38, was sent on assignment by al-Jazeera television station to cover the war in Afghanistan in October 2001. The following month, after the fall of Kabul, Mr Haj left Afghanistan for Pakistan with the rest of his crew.
In early December, the crew were given visas to return to Afghanistan. But when Mr Haj tried to re-enter Afghanistan with his colleagues, he was arrested by the Pakistani authorities – apparently at the request of the US military.
He was imprisoned, handed over to the US authorities in January 2002, taken to the US military compound in Bagram, Afghanisatan, then Kandahar, and finally to Guantanamo in June 2002.
His lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, of the human rights charity Reprieve, said his client had endured months of brutal force-feeding and lost nearly a fifth of his body weight during the hunger strike.
Dr Mamoun Mobayed, a British psychiatrist based in Northern Ireland, and a third member of the team who has also been given access to written notes of recent interviews with the prisoner, said there was also concern about the mental health of Mr Haj's wife and seven-year-old son, who was just one when his father went on assignment to Afghanistan.
I can only express my deep shame and sorrow to Mr. Haj, his wife and his son.