December 30, 2007 / 8:57 PM / 11 years ago

Guantanamo prisoner dies of cancer: U.S.

A U.S. Army soldier locks a cell at Camp Delta at Guantanamo Naval Base, Cuba, August 23, 2004. An Afghan detainee has died from cancer at the prison camp at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, authorities said on Sunday. REUTERS/Mark Wilson/Pool

MIAMI (Reuters) - An Afghan detainee has died from cancer at the prison camp at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, authorities said on Sunday.

Abdul Razzak, 68, who was undergoing chemotherapy treatment for colorectal cancer, was pronounced dead by a doctor at the base on Sunday morning, the U.S. military said in a statement.

He was the fifth prisoner to die in captivity since the detention and interrogation camp opened in 2002, Cmdr. Rick Haupt, a spokesman for the military’s Joint Task Force Guantanamo, told Reuters.

The other four deaths at Guantanamo, which currently holds about 290 prisoners, were the result of apparent suicides, according to the U.S. military.

The United States has drawn intense international criticism for holding foreign captives for years without charge at its naval base in southeast Cuba.

Haupt said Razzak was detained in Afghanistan in January 2003 and was a “committed jihadist.”

He did not elaborate except to say that Razzak, who would have turned 69 next month, was accused of “actively engaging the U.S. and its allies in Afghanistan.” He had been held in Guantanamo since January 2003, Haupt added.

“We make every attempt to preserve life here at Guantanamo and we regret any loss of life,” Haupt said.

Reporting by Tom Brown; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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