updated 8/12/2008 7:41:21 PM ET 2008-08-12T23:41:21

A Guantanamo prisoner who has been on a hunger strike for three years claims U.S. guards recently threatened to kill him and took his legal papers, lawyers for the Saudi said Monday.

Ahmed Zaid Zuhair told his lawyers a guard said "he will kill me and chop my body into pieces," while another said, "Don't kill him, but cut off his ears and his nose," according to a translated copy of the letter released by his attorneys.

His lawyers filed the letter with a Washington court as part of a petition seeking the return of the seized legal documents and the right to speak with their client by phone.

A spokeswoman for the detention center, Navy Cmdr. Pauline Storum, said she had no immediate comment but would look into the allegations.

Zuhair has been on hunger strike since June 2005, according to his lawyers, and the military force-feeds him daily with liquid nutrients to keep him alive.

After the alleged threats, the prisoner said guards searched his legal papers and seized several pages. They then allegedly banged on his cell door throughout the night to keep him awake.

The prisoner does not say what, if anything, prompted the incident. One of his lawyers, Darryl Li, said it appeared to be part of a campaign to end the hunger strike and he said he hoped a judge would hold a hearing to look into it further.

"That way Ahmed can testify about what happened and the judge can ask questions of both sides," said Li, part of a Yale Law School legal team representing Zuhair.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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