An American veteran jailed in Egypt for violating the government's curfew in August was discovered dead on Sunday in his cell, according to the Middle East newspaper Al Arabiya.
According to counterterrorism analyst and former police official, Brian Jenkins, this was the second incident in which a foreigner was found dead while in Egyptian custody in recent weeks.
The man is being identified as 66-year-old James Lunn, a retired U.S. Army officer who arrived in Cairo from the Gulf kingdom of Bahrain on Aug. 25, 2013. He was reportedly detained by Egyptian military troops -- who were deployed in the hostile region of northern Sinai -- three days later while Lunn was on his way to the border crossing into the Palestinian controlled Gaza Strip, according to Middle East news media.
Originally, the reports from Egypt identified the American prisoner as James Henry or James Henry Allen.
Jenkins informed Law Enforcement Examiner that the U.S. Embassy in Cairo admitted a U.S. citizen was being held prisoner in the city of Ismailia near the Suez Canal, but no one is saying why he was going to Gaza. The Egyptian government is telling Arab news organizations that Lunn committed suicide in his jail cell.
During Lunn's trip to Gaza, he was detained by Egyptian soldiers and they flew him to Ismailia on a military transport aircraft. Upon landing he was turned over to Eqyptian police officers who detained him pending criminal charges for his noncompliance with the emergency curfew.
His captors claim they found him hanging in his cell from a makeshift noose. He used his shoelaces and his pants belt to hang himself. According to Jenkins, the police officers were being prevented from discussing the alleged suicide.
James Lunn is the second foreigner to die in Egyptian custody since September. A French citizen who also was arrested for violating the curfew had been beaten to death in his cell by Egyptian inmates, some of whom were Islamist supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The strict curfew began in much of the troubled country of Egypt during the height of the violence between Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters and the Egyptian military.