Ninth Prisoner Dies In Guantanmo Bay

By: CBS News, Posted by Chelsey Moran
By: CBS News, Posted by Chelsey Moran

(CBS/AP) SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - A ninth fatality at the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba has been reported.

The prisoner, whose name and nationality is not being released at this time, was found unconscious and unresponsive in his cell and was pronounced dead on Saturday afternoon.

Guards found the prisoner in his cell and performed first aid while medical personal was called, the United States Southern Command said in a statement. The military performed emergency medical treatment and transferred the prisoner to the Naval Hospital Guantanamo. He was declared dead by a physician "after extensive lifesaving measures had been performed."

He was the ninth prisoner to die at the high-security prison since it was opened in January 2002 to hold men suspected of terrorism or links to al Qaeda and the Taliban. The military has said two of those deaths were by natural causes and six were declared suicides.

A prison spokesman, Navy Capt. Robert Durand, said a medical examiner has been brought to the base to determine the cause of death and an investigation will be conducted by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which is standard in the death of detainees at Guantanamo.

An autopsy will be performed by a medical examination team from the office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner, the statement added.

Durand said the U.S. government was working to notify the man's family and his country before releasing further information.

"Certainly we don't want the family finding out in the media before they have been notified," he said.

A mortuary team will wash and place the body in a shroud in accordance with Islamic burial rites before it is shipped back to the prisoner's homeland, he said.

The most recent death was in April 2011, when a 37-year-old Afghan prison died in an apparent suicide. His lawyer told The Associated Press at the time that the man had a long-term mental illness and had tried to kill himself at least once before. Two Saudis and a Yemeni prisoner were found hanging in their cells in June 2006 in what the military determined was a coordinated suicide.


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