US ‘suicide’ label for dead of Yemeni Gitmo inmate discounted
US military’s claim that a Yemeni inmate found dead in September at Guantanamo Prison camp had committed suicide by medication drug overdose has been discounted by American and Yemeni officials.
The circumstances surrounding the death of Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, one of the first men taken captive by American forces after their invasion of Afghanistan, have raised suspicions since the military announced over two months ago that a guard at the notorious prison and torture camp had found him “unconscious and unresponsive” in his cell, The New York Times reported Thursday.
While a US military medical examiner labeled Latif’s death as “suicide,” how he gained access to additional drugs is reportedly still under probe.
Yemeni officials have refused to accept the remains of the inmate until they get answers about the exact cause of his death. This is while a Pentagon official delivered an autopsy report to the Yemeni ambassador in Washington earlier this month, describing Latif’s death as ‘suicide,’ the daily adds, citing a report this week by the Web site, Truth-out.org.
However, Latif’s former lawyer, David Remes, expressed skepticism about how Latif could have saved his daily medications for an overdose without detection considering that he was under “intense scrutiny” by guards and prison cameras.
Remes further suggested that authorities at the military prison may have deliberately given Latif access to too much medication “hoping he would kill himself,” the report adds.
Moreover, Remes reiterated that shortly before Latif’s death, other Guantanamo detainees said guards had told Latif that they were taking him to a disciplinary cellblock, which he resisted. He was then placed in a specific cell which “he hated because of droning noise from an adjacent electric generator,” the report notes.
“Adnan (Latif) was a thorn in their sides,” Remes said. “The guards would ask other prisoners how to handle him. He refused to submit. He wouldn’t allow them to set the terms of his imprisonment. He was a constant problem.”
Latif, was seriously injured in an auto accident in his native Yemen and was in Afghanistan, seeking free or charity medical treatment when he was taken captive by US-led occupation forces.
He had been cleared for transfer back to his homeland before by both the Bush and Obama administrations; however he wasn’t sent home.
In 2010, a federal judge ordered Obama administration to free Latif, arguing that the evidence against him was too weak. However, an appeals court panel reversed that ruling in 2011.
According to the report, executive branch panels under the Bush and Obama administrations had repeatedly cleared the Yemeni inmate for repatriation, but he was still kept at Guantanamo “because both administrations were reluctant to send detainees to Yemen amid an Islamist insurgency.”
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