Guantanamo Detainee dies after exercising
Guantanamo Detainee dies after exercising

Guantanamo Detainee dies after exercising

The Daily Mail
February 5, 2011

A suspected Taliban commander collapsed and died at Guantanamo Bay prison after working out on an exercise machine, it emerged today.

Awal Malim Gul, 48, died at the U.S. Naval Base on Tuesday evening, according to military officials.

He had been using an elliptical trainer, which simulates stair-climbing or running. A legal source said he collapsed on the trainer, but the U.S. military said it happened while he was in the shower afterwards.

Gul, who had been held without charge since October 2002, was also alleged to have helped Osama Bin Laden and been part of the Al Qaeda network.

He is the seventh captive to die at the camp since it opened in January 2002, with five other inmates declared to have committed suicide and one dying of colon cancer.

Officials said when Gul collapsed, other detainees helped him to the guard station to get medical attention. He was transferred to the base hospital but doctors were unable to revive him.

An investigation into Gul's death has begun. An autopsy suggests he may have died from a heart attack or pulmonary embolism.

Gul was captured in Afghanistan in February 2002 and sent to Guantanamo eight months later.

The U.S. military said he commanded a Taliban supply base in Jalalabad and later fought in Kabul against the Northern Alliance, the Afghan militia allied with U.S. forces.

'Gul also admitted to meeting with Osama bin Laden and providing him with operational assistance on several occasions,' the U.S. military said.

But Matthew Dodge, one of the lawyers who filed a writ of habeas corpus to force the government to release Gul, said the military's allegations were 'outlandish' and that he had been held under indefinite detention because authorities had no evidence to support a prosecution.

Mr Dodge said Gul had joined the Taliban because he had no choice after the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and had resigned from the militant group more than a year before the 9/11, because he considered them 'corrupt and abusive'.

'Mr Gul was never an enemy of the United States in any way,' said Mr Dodge, a federal public defender in Atlanta, Georgia.

The prisoner had a large number of children and grandchildren who had been actively seeking his release, he added.

'Mr Gul was kind, philosophical, devout and hopeful to the end, in spite of all that our government has put him through.'

Miltary spokesman Army Colonel Scott Malcolm said Gul had been 'among the most compliant' of Guantanamo's 172 inmates but had not been cleared for release.

An investigation of Gul's death was being conducted by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which the military said was standard procedure. The same agency investigated the deaths of three prisoners in an apparent suicide in 2006.

Families of three men sued the government, alleging a cover-up in the 2006 deaths.

The case was dismissed in federal court, but the men's relatives reportedly still have doubts about the adequacy of the investigation and plan to appeal.


Kali Yantra