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Conflict & Tragedy

One of Gitmo's longest serving prisoners dies in custody

Guantanamo Bay prison camp detainee Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, 32, of Yemen, is dead. Latif was found unconscious in his cell during a routine prisoner count on Saturday, according to a statement released by the U.S. Southern Command. After "extensive lifesaving measures" were taken the detainee was pronounced dead at the hospital, the statement said. Latif was one of the first 20 detainees to arrive at the facility when it opened in January 2002.

Dubbed "The face of indefinite detention" by human rights activists, Latif became an example of the Bush Era policy of detaining suspected terrorists indefinitely and without access to due process. A policy that continues under the current administration.

Latif, who was accused of being an al-Qaeda fighter challenged his detention on several occasions but was denied each time. In 2004 it was determined by the Department of Defense that Latif had not taken part in any terrorist training and military officials recommended he be allowed to return to his country. The recommendation was subsequently ignored and Latif remained in custody.

Then in 2010, federal judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. ordered the release of Latif due to insufficient evidence. Kennedy ruled that the government failed to prove lawful detention of Latif in a 28-page opinion. Despite the judges ruling, Latif continued to be detained.

In June, the Supreme Court declined to review Latif's appeal; effectively closing the door to any chance at freedom.

An autopsy has been conducted but the cause of death has not been released. An investigation into the death is currently underway.