updated 5/11/2009 5:52:37 PM ET 2009-05-11T21:52:37

A Yemeni held at Guantanamo slashed his wrist and hurled the blood at his lawyer during a meeting at the prison, the attorney said Monday, describing the incident as a suicide attempt by a psychologically troubled man who should be returned home immediately for treatment.

Adnan Latif used a piece of veneer from a table to saw through a vein in his wrist, holding his arms down beneath the table to disguise his actions from the attorney, an interpreter and guards watching the meeting Sunday over a video-monitoring system, lawyer David Remes said.

After Latif threw the blood, guards rushed in and subdued and treated the prisoner, said Remes, of the Washington-based human rights law firm Appeal for Justice, which represents 16 Guantanamo prisoners from Yemen.

A prison spokesman, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Brook DeWalt, confirmed the incident but said Latif's injuries were minor and the prisoner was in no danger. He said the incident would not be categorized as an attempted suicide.

"It's a form of self-harm, but it is clearly not classified as a suicide attempt," DeWalt said. "It's a minor injury."

Remes disputes the characterization, saying he was covered in Latif's blood when the prisoner threw it at him.

"It was clearly a suicide attempt and it wasn't his first," he said.

The lawyer said he was told his client did not want to see him after the incident, though he hoped to still gain access to him before leaving the prison on a U.S. base in Cuba.

Held without charge
Latif, who records show is about 33, was captured by Pakistani forces after leaving Afghanistan and was turned over to the United States. Military authorities have said he is a suspected member of al-Qaida who fought with the Taliban, but he denies the allegations and says he is a victim of mistaken identity.

He says he went to Afghanistan after an acquaintance told him he could get free medical treatment for injuries sustained in a 1994 car accident through a charity operating in that country.

Latif has been held at Guantanamo without charge since January 2002. His lawyer says he is kept in isolation in the psychiatric ward of the prison, claims to hear voices and see ghosts and has repeatedly tried to commit suicide, including by trying to hang himself with a piece of tarp in September.

"This is a guy who needs treatment, but all they are attempting to do is keep him subdued," Remes said in an interview from the base.

The prison spokesman said he not comment on any past incidents involving Latif or the prisoner's medical history.

The U.S. holds about 240 prisoners at Guantanamo and has been trying to relocate them following President Barack Obama's pledge in January to close the prison within a year. As of Monday, there were 34 prisoners on hunger strike, a protest that has been ongoing since the summer of 2005.

Four prisoners have killed themselves at the base and lawyers claim there have been numerous attempts. The military says many incidents are not actual suicide attempts but merely "self-harm incidents" intended to gain attention.

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