Medical examiner rules immigrant detainee’s death a suicide

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office has ruled the death of an immigration detainee in Tacoma a suicide.

The office said following an autopsy Monday that 40-year-old Mergensana Amar died by hanging. He was taken off life support at a hospital Saturday after attempting to kill himself on Nov. 15.

Activists who monitor the Northwest Detention Center say he had been on a long-term hunger strike. But ICE says Amar began consuming fresh fruit and meal replacement shakes Sept. 19; his hunger strike officially ended Oct. 16.

Amar was due to be deported to Russia this month. Activists say he told them he was afraid to return, though he offered few details about why.