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Freed Guantanamo men face trial
Five Afghans released with Sami-al Hajj are arrested on return to their country.
Last Modified: 06 May 2008 13:29 GMT

The five Afghan detainees have been taken to
Pul-i-Charkhe prison on the outskirts of Kabul 

Five Afghan detainees who were released from Guantanamo Bay last week have been sent to jail upon their arrival in Afghanistan.
 
They had been detained at Guantanamo Bay with the Al Jazeera cameraman, Sami al-Hajj.
 
Al-Hajj and the Afghan detainees were on the same plane after they were released from the US military prison.
The detainees, who have been taken to the Pul-i-Charkhe prison on the outskirts of Kabul, the Afghan capital, will now face Afghan courts.
 
Detainees from Guantanamo Bay and any other US prison facility are usually transferred to Afghan custody once they are released.
A relative of Hajji Ruhollah, one of the men released, is now seeking legal assistance to find out when Ruhollah will be free.
 
Speaking to Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr in Kabul, the relative said: "If the US decides to release them then they are innocent, and if there is no evidence against them, he should be released without trial."
 
US evidence 
 
Prisoners who have been released from Guantanamo and returned to Afghanistan have been charged under Afghan law with crimes ranging from treason to destruction of government property.
 
The Afghan supreme court, which overseas all the cases, says that the evidence is prepared by the US authorities.
 
Some defendants have been sentenced to prison terms of up to 20 years.
 
Lal Gul, a human-rights activist, says this treatment is a new development.
 
"This procedure to take them to prison and try them in Afghan courts is ... to prevent these detainees from seeking compensation for their illegal arrest," he said.
 
"In the past, when they were released they were given apology letters and sent home."
 
'Unfair' trial
 
Both Afghan and US human-rights groups say these trials are unfair and based merely on allegations by American officials.
 
They also say that the ongoing trials have no prosecution witnesses and no defence lawyers present when a client is interrogated.
 
Abdul Rasheed Rashid, a member of the Afghan supreme court, dismissed claims that the court proceedings are unlawful.
 
"Judges [are] aware of the procedure ... situation is ready for legal trial and if the detainee doesn't want a lawyer it is up to him," he told Al Jazeera.
Source:
Al Jazeera
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