Another Suicide at Guantanamo

Detainee Hajji Nassim, aka Inayatullah, committed suicide at Guantanamo yesterday. He is the sixth detainee to kill himself at Guantanamo.

He was captured in Afghanistan and sent to Guantanamo in 2007. He was represented by the Federal Defenders of Miami, who say at one point they arranged for a civilian psychiatrist to visit him.

Wikileaks has no documents on him, but his the pleadings in his habeas case, available on PACER, (Case No. 09-cv-01332-HHK) detail more than 60 interrogations, the first of which was on September 13, 2007. He was an Afghan national who co-owned a cell phone store in Iran. He was suspected of providing safe housing and/or transit from Iran to Pakistan to Turk/al Qaeda fighters. On one occasion he may have delivered a message. He had a wife and six children. He was very concerned about his brother Hidayatullah who he thought was imprisoned at Bagram. [More...]

According to the interrogation reports on PACER, Inayatullah was at Bagram before Guantanamo. He often discussed with Gitmo interrogators whether he had told the truth or lied in those statements. He said he was promised at Bagram if he told the truth, he would be sent home. Instead he was sent to Gitmo. He also told interrogators conditions at Gitmo were better than at Bagram.

The Gitmo interrogators told him the only way he would be released would be if he fully cooperated. He would some days, then on others, he retracted what he said previously or refused to talk to them at all. He constantly asked about his brother Hidayatullah, and his family. At one point in 2010, Cage Prisoners put out an alert on his brother due to his concern.

He insisted he was innocent, that he was just a businessman with a cell phone store. The interrogators told him they knew that wasn't true.

At one point he was moved to a portion of the camp that allowed him to orally talk to other detainees. The interrogators thought he was learning counter-intelligence techniques from them which contributed to his change of heart on cooperating. At times he would want to negotiate what he would get for his cooperation.

The last interrogations I read were from 2009. Clearly things went downhill from there. His attorney said he spent long stretches in the psychiatric ward.

The Guardian reports:

Inayatullah had admitted to being a planner for al-Qaida's terrorist operations and helped to coordinate documentation, accommodation and vehicles to smuggle al-Qaida fighters through Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and Iraq,

Also from his attorney Paul Rashkind, who has visited him every three months:

One previous suicide attempt was so serious the prisoner nearly died, but was saved by military doctors, attorney Paul Rashkind told The Associated Press.

"This was a young man who suffered significant psychosis, a paralyzing psychosis beginning many years ago, long before he got to Gitmo," Rashkind said in a phone interview from St. Louis.

Rashkind says he was fine a few weeks ago when they last spoke about his habeas case.

How does a detainee hang himself with a sheet in the exercise yard and not be noticed by guards? Late last night when I first read about the suicide, the Pentagon release said nothing about an exercise yard. Like Politico, I read:

Guards found Inayatullah “unresponsive and not breathing” in his cell early Wednesday during routine rounds, U.S. Southern Command said in a statement released late Wednesday, and “[a]fter extensive lifesaving measures had been exhausted, the detainee was pronounced dead by a physician.”

Now most of those articles are gone (here's one more remaining one), replaced with the prison yard explanation. Here's another one

His ISN number is 10028. But that number also belongs to Haroon Al Afghani. And various other sources like Wikipedia list his number as 10029. (Update: I just rechecked his habeas petition and Hajii Nassim is an aka for Haroon al Afghani. They are the same person, as is Mohammed Naseem. But, according to Wikileaks, al Afgani is no. 3148. And Cage Prisoners says al Afghani 1s no. 1029 while Inayatullah is 1028.

It does not appear Inayatullah had any contact with family during his time at Guantanamo. He was lonely, he asserted his innocence, he submitted to (by my count from documents on PACER) between 60 and 100 interrogations, and he got nowhere. No charges were filed against him.

His interrogations from 2008 and 2009 are lucid. The interrogators write he was sometimes forthcoming and sometimes deceptive. Yet his attorney (whom I do know and who is extremely high-calibur and ethical) says he suffered from mental illness his entire life and had a prior serious suicide attempt there.

What another tragic story from Guantanamo. These detainees need to be charged and tried in an open proceeding in a federal court, or released to their home countries or other countries that will accept them.

< Bail Set For Dominique Strauss-Kahn | New Doping Allegations Against Lance Armstrong >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    How can this go on? (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by ruffian on Thu May 19, 2011 at 08:27:06 PM EST
    I don't know how anyone with a conscience can let this continue. Try them or let them go.

    obviously, (none / 0) (#2)
    by cpinva on Fri May 20, 2011 at 08:13:17 AM EST
    you just don't understand that "everything changed" after 9/11!

    i'd sort of like to be around in a hundred years, to see how historians treat the intellectual implosion of the US of this period.


    I have no words (none / 0) (#3)
    by sj on Fri May 20, 2011 at 10:23:13 AM EST