An American citizen, now identified as James Lunn after Egypt said he was retired U.S. Army officer James Henry, hanged himself in an Egyptian prison cell Sunday after having been held for six weeks following a terrorist attack in the area.
Lunn who used his shoelaces to hang himself in his cell in the Suez City of Ismailia, one day after American consulate officials visited him. Egyptian officials had told him they were extending his detention by another 30 days.
Police arrested him on August 28 for violating a dusk-to-dawn curfew between El Arish and Rafiah, which straddles the Gaza border. Authorities then discovered he was carrying a map and some kind of undefined electronic device, shortly after terrorists killed five Egyptian policemen in a bomb attack. Egyptian police did not produce any evidence or charges connecting Henry to the explosion.
The only official comment after his suicide was statement by U.S. Embassy official in Cairo, who said , “A U.S. citizen prisoner in Ismailia died from an apparent suicide. The embassy is in contact with authorities regarding the case and continues to provide all consular services.” He also said that Lunn had not told Consulate officials of any mistreatment.
The suicide follows by one month the death of a French man at the hands of other prisoners, who killed him during severe beatings. Last week, two Canadians in the area were beaten up by police officials. They were preparing a documentary about Gaza doctors,
Sunday’s suicide may complicate matters for the regime, which already faces cuts in military aid form then Obama administration because of its failure to advance new elections following the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi, although he was voted into office in free elections a year ago.