A Russian national detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement) killed himself this week a month after he was taken off a brief suicide watch, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.
Mergensana Amar, 40, was hospitalized after he tried to hang himself on Nov. 15 and died last Saturday. His suicide came a few weeks after law enforcement officials found a handmade rope under his bed. They placed him on a two-day suicide watch at the time.
"Amar’s death is an example of the lengths that ICE will go to keep people in detention,” Maru Mora Villalpando, a community organizer with advocacy organization NWDC Resistance, which supported Amar as he sought to stay in the U.S. “He kept telling us, ‘I’d rather die here than be deported.’”
Amar reportedly received his final order of removal in early November and ICE said it would deport him later this month.
He has been detained by ICE since he came to a U.S.-Mexico border checkpoint last year. He took part in an August hunger strike that left him gravely ill, the Post reported.
ICE spokeswoman Tanya Roman told the post that the government will conduct “a thorough investigation” of Amar’s death “to affirm that ICE protocols were followed.”
“Amar remained in good physical health before this incident and was monitored daily by ICE Health Service Corps medical professionals,” she told the newspaper.
The Russian national told news outlets that he was seeking refuge after he had been beaten by skinheads in Russia.
“I would prefer to die on this soil than go back to Russia,” Amar told Crosscut, an online news outlet.
His asylum claims were repeatedly denied.
After Amar took part in a hunger strike that nearly killed him, a federal judge gave ICE permission to give Amar intravenous fluids against his will.
The Northwest Detention Center, where Amar was detained, has been at the center of multiple controversies in recent years. Prisoners have gone on more than a dozen hunger strikes in order to protest what they say are brutal living conditions, CNN reported.