More Guantanamo inmates identified

The Pentagon has released further details of proceedings against detainees at Guantanamo Bay in the same week that a Canadian-born teenager, accused of killing a US soldier in Afghanistan, appears before a military tribunal at the prison.

    490 men are currently being held in Guantanamo Bay

    The 2,600 pages of documents published on Monday on the defence department's website give details of prisoners being held at the detention camp and their interogation.


    The release follows the publication a month earlier of 5,000 pages of documents also related to detainees at the camp on the western tip of Cuba.

    The documents include transcripts and defence summaries from special military panels that annually review each prisoner's case in order to decide if he is eligible for release or transfer.

    The decision to release such information ended a four-year struggle by the Pentagon to keep the identity of prisoners secret and came after federal court orders were issued following a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

    Among the new documents are the cases of six Algerians seized in Bosnia in 2002. 


    The men were flown to Guantanamo after the Bosnian supreme court dismissed charges against them of plotting to blow up the US embassy in Sarajevo.

    Al-Qaida recruits


    The "Bosnian Six" are unusual in that they were seized in Europe, and not in Afghanistan, unlike most of the 490 "war-on-terror" detainees currently held at Guantanamo.

    "I've been here for three years and these accusations were just  told to me"

    Al Hadj Boudella, Guantanamo detainee

    One of the six, Belkacem Bensayah, refused to appear before the review board to respond to allegations that he screened potential al-Qaida recruits for Abu Zubaydah, a top aide to Osama bin Laden.

    In their testimony, the other five were surprised at the allegations against them, and told their interrogators that they had no interest in the alleged embassy bomb plot.

    "I've been here for three years and these accusations were just told to me," said Al Hadj Boudella. "Nobody or any interrogator ever mentioned any of these accusations you are talking about now."

    The six left Algeria in the late 1980s or early 1990s, ending up in Bosnia where most of them married Bosnian women and worked for various Muslim charity organisations, according to information presented by defence lawyers.

    Three of the six said they never knew Bensayah, the alleged cell leader, before they were taken off to Guantanamo.

    Torture claims

    Meanwhile, a Canadian-born teenager accused of killing a US soldier in Afghanistan will appear before one of the special military tribunals set up at Guantanamo.

    Omar Ahmed Khadr was captured in Afghanistan by US forces in  2002 when he was only 15 and his lawyers say he is too young to be charged with war crimes.

    They also say that Khadr, now 19, has been tortured and abused at Guantanamo.

    Omar Khadr was arrested when
    he was just 15

    Only 10 of the 490 inmates held at the prison have been charged during more than four years since the camp was opened.

    Khadr is accused of killing a US medic during a battle with  American troops near Khost in Afghanistan.

    Prosecutors allege that he comes from a family with close links to al-Qaida and that his father, an Egyptian-born Canadian, was a  financier of the terror network's operations.

    Legal questions

    The resumption of the pre-trial hearings on Tuesday underlines George Bush's determination to move ahead with the tribunals despite pending legal challenges.

    Those challenges question the legitimacy of the proceedings that are not subject to US law or the Geneva Conventions.

    The Bush administration argues that the tribunals, or  commissions, are necessary because al-Qaida members do not qualify as prisoners of war from a regular army.

    Last week, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a key case brought by Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Guantanamo detainee that could impact on future tribunals.

    Even though the high court is not expected to rule on the case until June, the government has chosen to continue with scheduled trials in Guantanamo.

    Hearings scheduled for this week will also include proceedings  for Abdul Zahir, an Afghan accused of staging a grenade attack on foreign journalists, and Binyam Ahmed Muhammad, an Ethiopian who is charged with plotting with Al-Qaeda.

    Muhammad maintains that he was tortured in Morocco after his capture in Afghanistan and before he was transferred to Guantanamo in 2004.

    His lawyers say the abuse prompted him to confess to crimes he did not commit.

    US authorities deny Muhammad's allegations and insist that  detainees at Guantanamo are treated humanely in a way similar to US prisons.


    A full transcript of the documents released by the Pentagon can be found at



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