Matthews: Testimony about Boudella al Hajj
March 24, 2005
Stephen H. Oleskey, Esq.
Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
60 State Street
Boston, MA 02109
Re: Hadj Boudella
Dear Mr. Oleskey:
You have asked me to provide you with assistance in evaluating Mr. Boudella's mental health situation in view of his ongoing detention at the United States Naval Base. Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. You have expressed concern about his mental condition, yet you have been unable to secure an independent mental health evaluation. Because of this inability, my colleagues and I at the University of Hawaii Forensic Psychiatry Program, with the assistance of Anita Schlank, Ph.D., have developed an attorney/translator-administered questionnaire which we believe to be appropriate for the proxy assessment of individuals in confinement without access to mental health evaluation. My qualifications for conducting such an assessment are outlined in the enclosed c.v.
The findings presented below are derived from attorney/translator administration of this questionnaire, interpreted by Dr. Schlank and me. This is not, however, to be considered a substitute for a full psychiatric or psychological evaluation and the opinions are limited as there was no personal examination.
Findings and Opinions
Mr. Boudella endorsed sufficient symptoms to suggest that he may meet the clinical criteria for a depressive disorder. These symptoms included decrease in appetite, loss of energy, insomnia, and loss of sexual interest. Mr. Boudella reported being subjected to sexual abuse or sexual humiliation. There were beatings which he declined to describe. He also reported being deprived of water and being threatened with torture. These experiences are well known to precipitate major depression and stress disorders in previously healthy individuals.
It should be noted that the manner in which Mr. Boudella responded to the questions suggested that it was likely he was reporting accurately. He did not show the over-endorsement of symptoms or experiences that might be seen in a person who is malingering. (For example, he did not claim to have witnessed murder or torture, given electric shock, or to have been threatened with execution, and did not claim a great many symptoms that might appear to be related to depression or trauma responses.)
In my opinion Mr. Boudella is likely to suffer continuing and exacerbated symptoms if he is not removed from the stressors described.
Please let me know if you would like clarification of these findings.
Daryl Matthews, M.D., Ph.D.
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