DoD Report on Adnan Latif Death

By Jane Chong
Tuesday, July 2, 2013, 12:30 PM

A sad coda to the story of Adnan Latif, the Guantánamo detainee found dead in his cell on September 8, 2012. As I mentioned in yesterday's roundup, a classified military report released on Friday confirms that Latif committed suicide by overdose; he swallowed 24 capsules of the anti-psychotic drug Invega. Latif also had eight other drugs in his system and a case of acute pneumonia at time of death. Released in response to a September FOIA request submitted by Jason Leopold---then of Truthout now of Al Jazeera---the military report compiles the results of an investigation of officers and boards of officers conducted under Army Regulation 15-6. The report finds that prison guards and medical personnel struggled and failed to adhere to protocol in dealing with the clearly-ill Latif, identified by his internment number, ISN156:

ISN 156 had an extensive history of disciplinary and self-harm attempts while detained at JTF-GTMO. Because of his unique issues, guards and medical personnel frequently treated ISN156 differently than other detainees. Many guards and medical personnel indicated that ISN 156 was an exceptionally challenging detainee. Guards and medical personnel repeatedly violate various Joint Detention Group (JDG) and Joint Medical Group (JMG) Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). In some cases the guards and medical personnel are unfamiliar with the SOPs. In other cases, the guards and medical personnel are familiar with the requirements but for various reasons, fail to follow them. ... ISN156 hoarded medications and ingested them shortly before he was found unresponsive in his cell. Several factors contributed to the ability of ISN156 to hoard medications. These factors include inconsistent JDG and JMG SOPs with respent to Med Pass, confusion on the part of the guards, corpsmen, leadership (camp JDG, and JMG) regarding what the SOPs require, and in many cases, failure to coply with Med Pass SOP requirements.

By any account, the 79-page document is a disturbing read. It lays out Latif's diagnoses for bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder, his forced medication, his hunger strikes, his forced feeding, his repeated assaults on guards, the “discipline” measures to which he was subjected, and his "odd behavior"---such as literal backflips off the wall. It documents as well his repeated attempts at self-harm, including nineteen separate incidents in 2006 alone, of hanging, head-banging, self-induced choking and wrist-cutting. A glance at his 2008 detainee assessment, meanwhile, shows that the Joint Task Force described his overall health as "fair." Latif was ordered released by a D.C. District Court Judge in a decision that was then reversed by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. See our extensive coverage of the case here. Latif was the ninth man to die at Guantánamo and the seventh suicide.