American found hanged in Egyptian jail cell after violating curfew
- An American man was found hanged in a jail cell on Sunday in a police station near the banks of the Suez Canal.
The man, identified by the U.S. state department as 66-year-old James Lunn, had apparently committed suicide. He had been arrested on August 29 for breaking the curfew put in place amid the violent unrest that followed the military's ousting of President Mohammed Morsi in early July.
The American embassy in Cairo confirmed the death to ABC News, saying he died of "apparent suicide." The State Department also issued confirmation of the death today, and said that his family has been contacted.
Egypt officials had identified Lunn as a retired U.S. Army officer, but the U.S. State Department said Sunday that he was not a veteran.
Lunn was found after breakfast was served in the Ismailia police station, hung from the bathroom door of his prison cell, Egypt's public prosecutor said. A black belt wrapped around his neck was attached with string to both his shoes, which were tangled up on the other side of the door, according to the prosecutor. The statement said that blood was seen coming from his nose and that he had already died when they found him.
His body was then sent to the morgue at the main hospital in the city for an autopsy. Egypt's public prosecutor has now ordered an official investigation into the death.
Lunn had been living alone in a town called Sheikh Zuwayed in the northeast of the Sinai Peninsula, Egyptian state news agency MENA reported at the time of his arrest. He was reportedly on his way to the Palestinian Gaza Strip when he was arrested for breaking the 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. curfew.
Lunn had been arrested for breaking curfew in the Sheikh Zuweyid area, where a terrorist operation was carried out targeting a police station with a car bomb, according to a statement from the prosecutor's office. Authorities found him in possession of an Egyptian map and an electronic device that's currently being examined.
A consular team from the embassy had visited him at the jail last week but the embassy declined to say what Lunn was doing in the Sinai, the most violent part of the country.
Since Morsi was deposed, the already lawless Sinai has grown increasingly bloody. The ouster was followed by a military and police crackdown and there have been almost daily attacks against security targets by Islamic militants. On Friday, three soldiers and one policeman were killed when a suicide bomber drove a car bomb into a checkpoint.