More Guantanamo detainees freed

Twenty-six detainees were released in Afghanistan and Pakistan on Monday after being transferred from a US military detention centre in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    Rights groups have condemned conditions at Guantanamo

    Pentagon officials said those released included 23 Afghans and three Pakistanis

    .

    "They no longer were deemed a threat and they no longer had

    intelligence value," said Major Michael Shavers, a Pentagon

    spokesman.

    The Pentagon would provide no other information on the detainees

    or the transfer, citing operational and security reasons.

    But they were the latest in a series of detainees who have been

    either released or turned over to authorities of their home

    countries for further detention.

    The releases came less than a week after five Britons were turned over to

    British authorities, flown to London and quickly released without

    charges.

    Mistreatment

    The Britons have charged in newspaper interviews and

    through lawyers that they were beaten and mistreated during their

    two years in US military custody.

    The Pentagon on Monday dismissed those allegations as "lies" and

    said they would not be investigated because they lacked

    credibility.

    "These allegations (of mistreatment at Guantanamo) are fabrications. These are lies.

    All the detainees were treated humanely and to the extent

    appropriate and consistent with military necessity in accordance with

    the third Geneva Convention of 1949"

    Major Michael Shavers,

    Pentagon spokesman

    "These allegations are fabrications. These are lies," said

    Shavers.

    "All the detainees were treated humanely and to the extent

    appropriate and consistent with military necessity in accordance with

    the third Geneva Convention of 1949.

    "Because these are lies and fabrications, they are not credible.

    If they were credible allegations of illegal conduct, then we would

    investigate."

    Asked how the Pentagon could determine whether the allegations

    were lies without an investigation, the spokesman said: "We do

    not do what they are alleging."

    Enemy combatants

    By the Pentagon's tally, 119 detainees have been released from Guantanamo Bay

     so

    far.

    Twelve others - four from Saudi Arabia, one from Spain and

    seven from Russia - were repatriated for continued detention in

    their home countries.

    More than 600 prisoners are being held as "enemy combatants" at

    Camp Delta, a maximum security prison at a US naval base at

    Guantanamo.

    Bush has called the Guantanamo
    detainees 'terrorists'

    President George Bush has designated six detainees as

    eligible for trial by military commissions, but so far charges have

    been brought against only two prisoners.

    Human rights groups and some governments have criticised the

    indefinite detentions, saying the prisoners are in a legal limbo

    with charges or access to lawyers.

    The Pentagon, which defends the detentions as in keeping with

    the laws of armed conflict, unveiled plans earlier this month to

    establish military boards that will review the status of prisoners

    on an annual basis.

    SOURCE: AFP


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