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Old 21-12-14, 12:41   #1
 
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Question Mark PhOtOs-Guantanamo Inmates>How Many Were Innocent?

Four Guantanamo Prisoners Returned Home to Afghanistan after Ten Years in Notorious Prison

Daily Mail UK, 21 December 2014


Four Afghans held for over a decade at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have been sent home to Afghanistan, the Pentagon said on Saturday, the latest step in a slow-moving push by the Obama administration to close the facility.


The men were flown to Kabul overnight aboard a U.S. military plane and released to Afghan authorities, the first such transfer of its kind to the war-torn country since 2009, according to a U.S. official.

Obama promised to shut the internationally condemned prison when he took office nearly six years ago, citing the damage it inflicted on America's image around the world. But he has been unable to do so, partly because of obstacles posed by the U.S. Congress.




Controversial: The four anonymous inmates were flown from Guantanamo to Afghanistan overnight and handed to officials there


With a recent trickle of releases, including the transfer of six prisoners to Uruguay earlier this month, Guantanamo's detainee population has been gradually whittled down to 132.

The repatriation of the four Afghans, identified as "low-level detainees" who were cleared for transfer long ago and are not considered security risks in their homeland, had been in the pipeline for months.

But in a measure of what one senior U.S. official described as an improving relationship with the new Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, Washington went ahead with the transfer after he formally requested it.

The continued detention of Afghans at Guantanamo - eight remain there - has long been deeply unpopular across the ideological spectrum in Afghanistan.

The release comes at a time when most U.S. troops are due to leave Afghanistan by year-end even as Taliban insurgents are intensifying their bloody campaign to re-establish their hardline Islamist regime that was toppled in a U.S.-backed military intervention in 2001.

All four men - identified as Shawali Khan, Khi Ali Gul, Abdul Ghani and Mohammed Zahir - were originally detained on suspicion of being members of the Taliban or affiliated armed groups.





Guantanamo now holds 132 prisoners


But a second senior U.S. official said:

"Most if not all of these accusations have been discarded and each of these individuals at worst could be described as low-level, if even that."

The Afghan government gave the United States "security assurances" for the treatment of the former prisoners and was expected to reunite them with their families, the official said.

Guantanamo was opened by Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, to house terrorism suspects rounded up overseas, with Afghans originally the largest group. Most of the detainees have been held for a decade or more without being charged or tried.

Thirteen other prisoners of various nationalities have been transferred from Guantanamo since early November, and several more could be repatriated or sent to countries other than their homelands by year-end, U.S. officials said.

Obama still faces major obstacles in trying to shut down the prison, among the biggest being the Yemeni detainees who make up more than half the remaining inmate population. Most have been cleared for transfer but are unable to return home because of the chaotic security situation in the Arabian Peninsula state.

Two weeks ago a U.S. Senate report delivered a scathing indictment of the harsh Bush-era interrogation program used on terrorism suspects. Obama banned the techniques when he took office in 2009. (Editing by Mark Heinrich)
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Old 24-07-15, 19:07   #2
 
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Breaking News Former Guantanamo Detainees Arrested in Belgium

Belgium Arrests Two ex-Guantanamo Inmates on Terrorism Charges

by Star UK, 24 July 2015


BRUSSELS (Reuters) -

Belgium has arrested two former detainees of Guantanamo prison on charges of terrorism, saying the men are suspected of seeking recruits to fight in Syria, the federal prosecutor's office said on Friday.


The two men, who were held at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval base in Cuba between 2001 and 2005, were under police surveillance and were arrested in the early hours of Thursday in the Belgian city of Antwerp along with three others.

"They were in a car, we believe waiting to commit a robbery," said Jean-Pascal Thoreau, a spokesman for Belgium's federal prosecutor.

Western fighters in Syria and Iraq have found some of their most willing recruits in Belgium, and per capita Belgium is the European country providing the highest number of citizens to fight with Syrian rebels in recent years, data shows.

Belgium is third only to France and Britain, with nearly 300 citizens travelling to fight between late 2011 and December 2013, according to the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation.

The two men accused are Moussa Zemmouri, a 37-year-old Belgian of Moroccan origin, and an Algerian whom the prosecutor's office identified as Soufiane A and who is suspected of spending time in Syria.

Zemmouri was captured in the Kandahar region in southern Afghanistan following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. He was flown back to Belgium in April 2005 and later released after spending time in a Belgian prison.

Guantanamo was set up after the Sept. 11 attacks for al Qaeda and Taliban detainees. Obama vowed to close it within a year when he came to office in 2009. The White House said on Wednesday it was in the final stage of drafting a plan for closing the prison for foreign terrorism suspects.
(Reporting by Robin Emmott)
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Old 30-10-15, 21:16   #3
 
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Breaking News Last UK Guantanamo Bay Detainee lands in Britain

Last British Resident Freed from Guantanamo Bay Arrives in UK

Shaker Aamer Flies Back to UK on a Private Jet Which Cost Taxpayers £50,000
>After 13 years in Guantanamo Without Charge... Now He May Get £1Million Compensation

  • Father-of-four had been held at the U.S. military prison in Cuba since 2002
  • Mr Aamer, 46, says he was working as charity worker in Afghanistan when he was kidnapped and handed over to US forces in 2001
  • He says he was tortured and held in solitary confinement for 360 days
  • He flew in to Kent on private jet at a cost of £50,000 to the British taxpayer
By Reuters, 30 October 2015


LONDON, Oct 30 (Reuters) -

The last British resident to be held at the U.S. prison camp in the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba arrived in Britain on Friday after his release from 13 years in detention there.

Shaker Aamer, a Saudi national married to a Briton, was suspected by U.S. authorities of being an Islamist militant associated with al Qaeda but was never charged with any crime.





Father-of-four Shaker Aamer (pictured with his daughter Johina and son Michael), who has been detained at the U.S. military jail in Cuba since 2002, was cleared for release at the end of last month





Shaker Aamer, the last British prisoner in Guantanamo Bay has landed back in the UK after finally being been released from the notorious jail in Cuba





The 46-year-old arrived on a private plane, a £23 million Gulfstream IV, at Biggin Hill in south-east London






Mr Aamer is expected to be taken for a health check-up before returning to his home in Battersea, London



Television images from Biggin Hill airport south of London showed the arrival of a small white aircraft. A government spokesman said Aamer was now back in Britain.

He said ‘I am overwhelmed by what people have done by their actions, their thoughts and their prayers, and without their devotion to justice I would not be here in Britain now.’

It is also believed that Mr Aamer may be set to receive a £1million compensation payout, as others freed from Guantanamo Bay have in the past.

Each of the nine British nationals released from the detention camp, along with several others who hold British resident status, are thought to have received the mega payouts.

David Cameron’s spokesman has suggested that Mr Aamer would also receive a similar compensation package


Britain said last month that Aamer would be released, and Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said earlier on Friday that the former detainee was en route to Britain, a move welcomed by supporters.

"Today is a day for welcoming him back and hoping that he is healthy and well and that can join his family at long last," Kate Allen, UK Director of Amnesty International, told Sky News.

In Washington, the Pentagon said it reviewed Aamer's case and concluded he should be released.

"As a result of that review, which examined a number of factors, including security issues, Aamer was unanimously approved for transfer by the six departments and agencies comprising the task force," a Pentagon statement said.

Aamer was cleared for release by U.S. authorities in 2007 but not freed until now. During a debate in parliament earlier this year, some British lawmakers expressed concern that Aamer was still in Guantanamo because he "had seen too much" .



Rights group Reprieve said Aamer moved to Britain in 1996 and was in Afghanistan in 2001 doing voluntary work for an Islamic charity when he was captured by Afghan Northern Alliance forces and handed to the U.S. military.

He was then transferred to Guantanamo when the prison camp was opened in 2002.

Several British lawmakers long argued for Aamer's release with John McDonnell, now the opposition Labour party's finance spokesman, telling parliament earlier this year that Aamer had "endured harsh, and brutal and inhuman treatment".
Allen said Britain should hold a "proper independent inquiry" into allegations including mistreatment.

Prime Minister David Cameron's spokeswoman said the government had no plans to detain Aamer but would do "anything necessary to ensure public safety".

Most Guantanamo detainees have been held without trial for over a decade and Washington has drawn international condemnation for harsh treatment of foreign terrorism suspects.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said it was now time to close the facility, a vow President Obama made when first elected in 2008 but has not upheld. Congress has blocked any such move with provisions such as bans on transferring detainees to U.S. soil.

"Now Shaker has been released, the scandal of the Guantanamo detention camp itself must be brought to an end," Corbyn said.
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