The US says it has held 759 males, from teenagers to men older than 70, from more than 40 countries, according to the list released late on Monday in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by The Associated Press.

 

The list includes about 200 previously undisclosed names. They are former Guantanamo detainees who were moved out before the military began hearings in summer 2004 to determine whether detainees were properly classified as "enemy combatants" who should be held at the base.

 

The list includes the 10 detainees who have been charged with crimes, but it does not include the most notorious US prisoners, such as alleged September 11 plotters Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh - whose whereabouts are secret.

 

"There's still much more in darkness," said Priti Patel, a lawyer with New York-based Human Rights First who has monitored legal proceedings at Guantanamo.

 

Lawyers and other advocates will be able to use the list to track who has been held at the base and find former detainees to help investigate allegations of abuse, Patel said.

 

The Pentagon released the list while denying the AP access to other information about the detainees, who were mostly held on suspicion of links to al-Qaeda or the Taliban after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan.

 

The handover is the first time that everyone who has been held by the defence department at Guantanamo Bay has been identified, said Navy Lieutenant Commander Chito Peppler, a Pentagon spokesman.

 

Last month, the military released the names of 558 detainees, in response to an AP lawsuit.

 

Classified information

A maximum security detention
centre at Guantanamo (file)

The names of all detainees held at Guantanamo Bay were classified because of "the security operation as well as the intelligence operation that takes place down there," said Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman.

 

The new list, when compared with the one from April, shows that the Pentagon released many Afghans who were caught early in the war. More than 90 were transferred out of Guantanamo from January 2002 to summer 2004.

 

Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, believes that US officials are trying to deflect international criticism by gradually moving out detainees.

 

"They are trying to slowly let the air out of the tires as a way to make the problem go away," Romero said.

 

Incomplete information

 

"They are trying to slowly let the air out of the tires as a way to make the problem go away."

Anthony Romero, 
American Civil Liberties Union

The list released on Monday does not specify what has happened to former detainees.

 

The fate of some is documented. All British nationals were transferred back to Britain. What has become of dozens of other detainees was not known.

 

Some could be free. Others could be in secret US detention centres or in torture cells of prisons in other countries.

 

The US military says about 480 detainees are now at Guantanamo Bay. Those released or transferred numbered 275.