Autopsy Reports Raise Questions About Deaths of Two Guantanamo Detainees

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Hajji Nassim, a prisoner detained by the US government in Guantanamo, was found dead in the early morning of May 18, 2011. He had secured a white bed sheet to a pipe in the recreation area adjacent to his cell. Efforts to revive him failed and Nassim was pronounced dead due to asphyxiation from hanging 90 minutes later. He was the eighth prisoner to die at Guantanamo.  Nassim was hospitalized as a teenager for auditory hallucinations and had attempted suicide twice in 2009.

Nassim spent a year in the prison’s behavioral health unit.  After he was released, he was administered before bed one milligram of Risperdal, an antipsychotic used to treat schizophrenia, to quell his suicidal thoughts and auditory and visual hallucinations.

Despite Nassim’s history of mental illness, US officials justified his detention by insisting that he was a prominent al-Qaeda figure. How was Nassim, who was under constant video surveillance and checked upon by guards every three minutes able to walk out of his cell and hang himself? The answers remain shrouded in secrecy.


Jason Leopold, “Newly Released Autopsy Reports Raise Questions About Deaths of Two Guantanamo Detainees,” Truthout, March 6, 2013,


Student Researcher: Jack Bool, College of Marin

Faculty Evaluator:  Susan Rahmen, College of Marin