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Eritrean ICE detainee commits suicide in transit in Egypt

CAIRO – An Eritrean detainee of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency died in a holding area after apparently committing suicide, Egyptian airport officials said on Saturday.

The officials said that Zeresenay Ermias Testfatsion, 34, was being held by authorities at Cairo International Airport, awaiting his return to Asmara, Eritrea.

They say he was found deceased on Wednesday in a shower area and that his remains were taken to the nearby Heliopolis Hospital. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief media.

A Saturday statement by ICE confirmed the death, adding that Testfatsion had been in ICE custody since Feb 2, 2017 following his arrest at the Hidalgo, Texas Port of Entry after he attempted to unlawfully enter the United States. Court records show he went to the U.S. seeking asylum.

ICE, Homeland Security and the Eritrean embassies in the U.S. and Egypt did immediately respond to requests for comment on Saturday.