An American citizen detained in the Sinai Peninsula was found dead in his police station cell in what some officials are calling an apparent suicide. The State Department has confirmed the death of James Lunn, who was arrested in late August in Ismailia, near the Suez Canal. He was found hanging in his cell on Sunday.
While Lunn's death surely raises concerns over the conditions of Egyptian prisons, according to The Washington Post, "the State Department said Lunn had at no time complained to U.S. consular officials that he was maltreated by the Egyptians. It confirmed the Egyptians’ claim that Lunn was last visited by a U.S. consular officer Tuesday."
The New York Times reports that the reason for Lunn's being in Egypt are not immediately clear, as are the reasons for his detainment:
A statement from Egypt’s Interior Ministry said that Mr. Lunn had been arrested Aug. 27 during a security sweep of the northern Sinai after a car-bomb attack on a police station.
The statement said that Mr. Lunn had been in the area of the attack and was found with “a computer and maps of important facilities.” He was detained for investigation and transferred to Ismailia.
Egypt's leading newspaper described Lunn as a retired U.S. Army officer, a distinction that the State Department disputed. Lunn may have been headed to Gaza when he was initially detained, and had his imprisonment extended by another 30 days on Saturday.
[Pictured: Supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi are detained during clashes with riot police in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013. ]