News / Middle East

Egypt: Detained American Hangs Self in Prison

VOA News
An American man detained in Egypt's Sinai peninsula for six weeks has been found dead in his prison cell. Security officials said he apparently committed suicide.

The U.S. State Department identified the man as James Lunn. Egyptian security officials said his body was found on Sunday, hanging in the jail in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia.

Egyptian police had detained Lunn in northern Sinai on August 27 on suspicion of violating a government curfew imposed as part of a crackdown on opposition activity.

Prosecutors decided to extend Lunn's detention on Saturday by 30 days. Officials said he used a shoelace and belt to hang himself the next day.

The State Department said a U.S. consular official had visited Lunn at the prison last Tuesday.

The Egyptian interior ministry said security forces detained Lunn while responding to a car bombing outside a police station in the northern Sinai town of Sheikh Zwayed. It said they found a computer and "maps of important installations" in his possession.

Security officials said the American told authorities that he was on his way to Gaza at the time.

Lunn is the second foreigner to die in an Egyptian prison in recent weeks. Last month, a French man jailed for allegedly violating a curfew in Cairo was beaten to death by fellow inmates.

Earlier, Egyptian authorities had identified Lunn by the name "James Henry."

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