SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – An Afghan detainee at the Guantanamo Bay prison died Wednesday in an apparent suicide, the U.S. military said.
The prisoner, known only by the name Inayatullah, was not conscious or breathing when guards checked on him in the morning, and they immediately tried to resuscitate him, U.S. Southern Command said in a statement.
"After extensive lifesaving measures had been exhausted, the detainee was pronounced dead by a physician," the statement said.
The apparent suicide was under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which is standard practice for the death of a detainee at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba, said spokesman Bob Appin said in a phone interview from Miami.
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Heidi Lenzini said the military would not immediately disclose any details about the circumstances of the death, including the method of the apparent suicide or in which section of Guantanamo the prisoner was detained. There are about 170 men held at Guantanamo, most on suspicion of links to al-Qaida or the Taliban.
Inayatullah had been held without charge at Guantanamo since September 2007. The military said he was an admitted planner for al Qaida terrorist operations, and acknowledged facilitating the movement of foreign fighters. Inayatullah met with local operatives, developed travel routes and coordinated documentation, accommodation and vehicles for smuggling al-Qaida militants through Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and Iraq, according to the statement.
His remains would be treated with respect for Islamic culture and traditions with the assistance of a cultural adviser, the military said, with his body being be sent to Afghanistan after an autopsy.
He is the eighth prisoner to die at the detention center since January 2002, when the U.S. began using the U.S. Navy base to hold captured detainees. Five of the deaths were declared suicides. Two others were from apparently natural causes, including a 48-year-old Afghan who collapsed and died while exercising in February. Inayatullah is the eighth.