Lawyer: Detainee dropped from 9/11 case tried to kill self

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba — A lawyer for a Saudi captive here, who was once suspected of being the 9/11 ''20th hijacker,'' said Tuesday that the detainee tried to kill himself last month in despair over hearing that a Pentagon prosecutor was seeking his execution.

Mohammed al Qahtani, 29, cut himself repeatedly and had to be hospitalized at the prison camps here, according to attorney Gitanjali Gutierrez of the New York Center for Constitutional Rights. Qahtani was upset to learn that a Pentagon prosecutor had sworn out capital criminal charges against him, alleging he was a co-conspirator in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, she said. "He does not want to be a martyr,'' she said.

On May 9, a Pentagon official, without explanation, struck Qahtani's name from the charge sheet in which cahrges were pressed against five other alleged Sept. 11 conspirators. Gutierrez had Pentagon permission to visit this remote base Wednesday to tell him so.

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