Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Military: Gitmo detainee dies of apparent suicide

From AP: 06/02/2009

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – A Yemeni detainee at Guantanamo Bay has died of an "apparent suicide," U.S. military officials announced Tuesday.

The Joint Task Force that runs the U.S. prison in Cuba said guards found 31-year-old Muhammad Ahmad Abdallah Salih unresponsive and not breathing in his cell Monday night.

In a statement issued from Miami, the U.S. military said the detainee was pronounced dead by a doctor after "extensive lifesaving measures had been exhausted."

The Yemeni prisoner, known as Al-Hanashi, has been held without charge at Guantanamo since February 2002. Military records show he was about 31. His is the fourth apparent suicide at Guantanamo.

The U.S. military says the remains will be autopsied by a pathologist from the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.

The prisoner appears to have joined the long-running hunger strike at Guantanamo, according to medical records previously released by the military in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by The Associated Press.

His weight was down to about 86 pounds (39 kilograms) in December 2005. He weighed 124 pounds (56 kilograms) when he was first taken to Guantanamo in February 2002.

A prison spokesman, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Brook DeWalt, confirmed the incident but declined to discuss further details on how the Yemeni man committed suicide and whether any family members have been contacted.

DeWalt declined to say whether procedures have changed at the prison as a result of the apparent suicide.

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