Yemeni detainee at Guantanamo prison commits suicide

Miami HeraldJune 2, 2009 

A long-held Yemeni captive and frequent hunger striker committed suicide in a cell at the prison camps at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the military said Tuesday.

Guards tried unsuccessfully to revive Muhammad Ahmad Abdallah Salih, 31, known as Prisoner Number 78, after he was found unconscious on Monday night, said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Brook DeWalt, a prison camps spokesman.

Salih was the fifth captive to apparently commit suicide in the Cuban sprawling prison camps compound since the Bush administration opened the prison camps in January 2002. He was the first during the tenure of President Barack Obama, who has ordered the detention center emptied by Jan. 22.

The Yemeni had been held on occasion in the detention center psychiatric ward, although detention center officials would say neither whether he was found dead in a cell there nor how he had died.

Guantanamo health records show Salih as a 5-foot-7-inch man who was weighed in to Camp X-Ray at 124 pounds on Feb. 8, 2002 -- days after his 24th birthday. His Guantanamo weight chart show that while fasting around Christmas 2005 he had withered to 85 pounds.

Salih has never been publicly identified as a candidate for trial. U.S. military officials said he was captured at Mazar e Sharif during the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, where he had traveled that year from his homeland "to participate in jihad" with members of the Taliban.


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