Adrian Latif died in confinement at Guantanamo prison on September 5. The cause of death is under investigation. Latif had a history of mental illness but also of consistent challenges against his confinement.
Obama made closing of the Guantanamo Bay prison one of his campaign promise. On January 22, 2009 he signed an order that the facility be closed within a year. However two years later with Guantanamo still open Obama on March 7, 2011 signed another executive order that reversed his position on trying the detainees in civilian courts. He ruled that detainees could be tried by military tribunals.
Of course Guantanamo not only continues to be open but it is being upgraded. The U.S. taxpayer also continues to pay approximately $800,000 per detainee per year.
Detainees are held indefinitely without trial and challenges against their being held without trial have not been successful so far. Adrian Latif is one detainee who had constantly challenged his imprisonment.
In July 2010 a judge ruled that a classified report was not sufficient evidence that Latif had trained at a training camp and ordered him released. The government naturally appealed and a higher court ruled that courts should assume government documents were accurate and reliable. In June the Supreme Court refused to hear Latif's appeal. For those accused there is no challenge available to the government's decision since it must be assumed evidence is accurate and reliable. The question of holding someone indefinitely without trial does not even seem to have been addressed. This led to a great lack of hope among many prisoners. Latif himself tried to commit suicide a number of times and also joined in a hunger strike.
Latif also suffers mental problems perhaps caused by a traffic accident he had suffered before being sent to Guantanamo. In fact when he was captured he claimed he was going to Pakistan for medical treatment.
Latif often battled guards at the facility. On one occasion he threw "bodily fluids" at a guard and another time spit in the face of another guard. He was constantly being subject to disciplinary measures as a result. This no doubt simply fueled his anger.
At one time Latif was actually cleared for release as no danger to the U.S and a court ordered his release but this was just at the time that the Obama administration had decided that no more detainees would be released to Yemen because at least some had joined radical Islamist groups. There were no plans even now to try Latif for any crimes. At most he is claimed to have been trained with the Taliban in Afghanistan.
David Remes Latif's attorney said:"Anyway you look at it, he died because he was there... If he committed suicide, it was because his detention killed his spirit. If it wasn't suicide it could have been medical neglect. It could have been mistreatment by the guards. But at the end of the day he died because he was there."
Latif was in his early to mid thirties when he died. He had been at Guantanamo for over a decade.
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