Officials: Strauss-Kahn on suicide watch in jail

IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn (C) is taken out of a police station in New York on May 15, 2011. Strauss-Kahn was charged Sunday with attempting to rape a New York chambermaid, unleashing a scandal which could bury his long-held ambitions to be elected the president of France. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images) Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

NEW YORK - A law enforcement official and a union official say International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is under a suicide watch in jail.

Norman Seabrook heads New York City's corrections officer union. He told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Strauss-Kahn was under the watch at Rikers Island.

A law enforcement official confirmed that Strauss-Kahn was placed under watch after undergoing a mental health evaluation. The official spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of prisoners' medical information.

The official says the 62-year-old Strauss-Kahn did not try to harm himself. He was arrested Saturday in the alleged sex attack of a hotel maid and was held without bail on Monday.

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Strauss-Kahn spent an uneventful night at the Rikers Island complex after being denied bail Monday, corrections officials said.

In asking that he be kept behind bars on charges he tried to rape a hotel maid, prosecutors had warned that the wealthy banker might flee to France and put himself beyond the reach of U.S. law, like the filmmaker Roman Polanski.

Defense lawyers have insisted there was no force involved and predicted Strauss-Kahn would be vindicated. Still, his arrest and detention have sent shock waves through the financial world, as well as French politics and culture.

"[He] has an almost mythical stature right now," Eswar Prasad, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, told CBS News. "So it did come as a shock because, after all, this is the man who was the head of what has become the most powerful international financial institution."

Austria's finance minister suggested Tuesday that Strauss-Kahn consider stepping down to avoid damaging the IMF, which provides emergency loans to countries in severe distress and tries to maintain global financial stability.

"Considering the situation, that bail was denied, he has to figure out for himself that he is hurting the institution," Maria Fekter said as she arrived at a meeting of European finance ministers in Brussels.

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