updated 11/17/2005 9:25:15 PM ET 2005-11-18T02:25:15

A Bahraini man being held at the U.S. prison for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay attempted suicide this week for the ninth time and has begun a hunger strike, according to newly released court documents.

Juma’a Mohammed al-Dossary tried to kill himself Monday by pulling out sutures on an arm wound he inflicted on himself a month earlier, the chief medical officer at Guantanamo, Dr. John Edmondson, said in an affidavit filed in federal court in Washington.

Al-Dossary, who has been held since February 2002, also began a hunger strike in the first week of November to protest not being included in a group of Bahrainis released from the jail at the U.S. Navy station in eastern Cuba, Edmondson, a Navy captain, said.

It was the fourth suicide attempt in 20 months at Guantanamo, where the U.S. military holds about 500 terrorism suspects, said Lt. Col. Jeremy Martin, a detention center spokesman. No detainees have died at the prison since it opened, officials say.

The doctor’s affidavit, filed late Wednesday, came in response to a request from al-Dossary’s lawyers that a judge order conditions be eased for the 32-year-old detainee.

“He’s living under conditions that he finds unbearable and he’s been told that he’ll live that way for the rest of his life,” said Joshua Colangelo-Bryan, one of the attorneys.

The lawyers contend al-Dossary has been kept in isolation for about two years and denied sufficient time to exercise and adequate reading material. They also say lights are kept on in his cell all night and he is not allowed regular access to other detainees.

Col. Michael Bumgarner, who manages the jail, said in an affidavit that al-Dossary has not been kept in isolation and that for the past six months he has been housed in an area where detainees are offered two hours of exercise per day, can freely talk to each other and have access to a library. Lights are dimmed at night, he said.

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