An Afghan man who was found hanging from a bedsheet at Guantanamo last month was held by the Pentagon as an "indefinite detainee" -- an Obama administration designation originally conferred on 48 captives at the prison camps in Cuba.
Defense Department officials have not released the list of so-called indefinite detainees nor have they notified the men of their status as ineligible for either trial or release among the 171 captives currently held in Guantanamo.
But a Pentagon spokesman, Dave Oten, confirmed this week that the May 18 death of a captive known to his lawyers as Hajji Nassim and to the Defense Department as Inayatullah lowered the indefinite detainee tally.
"It's a sad case, a very sad case," said his Miami attorney Paul Rashkind on Tuesday. A federal public defender, Rashkind had been on the Afghan's case for about a year. He said that although he had never been told of his client's status as an indefinite detainee, he might have been able to persuade the government otherwise.
"We were hopeful that we would be able to complete a psychiatric profile of him and present that information to the government in the hopes they would release him," said Rashkind.
The Pentagon had claimed that Inayatullah was an al-Qaida emir in Iran who planned and directed the group's terror operations. He got to Guantanamo in 2007, one of the last detainees sent there. Rashkind countered that the captive was never known as Inayatullah anywhere but in Guantanamo, never had a role in al-Qaida and was in fact named Hajji Nassim and ran a cellphone shop in Iran near the Afghan border.