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'Some 211 detainees have departed from Guantanamo Bay'
Pakistan Times
March 13, 2005

WASHINGTON (US): The US State Department Spokesman has said that to date, 211 detainees have departed from Guantanamo Bay, 146 of those were transferred for release and 65 were transferred to the control of host governments for further detention, investigation, and/or prosecution as appropriate.

He gave the details in response to a question at the daily press briefing on Friday.

Richard Boucher said of the 65 detainees, who had been transferred to the control of host governments, 29 of those people went to Pakistan, nine to the United Kingdom, seven to Russia, five to Morocco, six to France, four to Saudi Arabia, and one each to Denmark, Spain, Sweden, Kuwait, and Australia.

The Spokesman was asked about the position of the State Department on reports of attempts to get some of the Guantanamo detainees back to serve out sentences in their home countries.

Boucher said the United States had done a lot to try to help the Defence Department as they had identified detainees who no longer needed to be detained or who could be transferred to some other custody.

"We have worked with other governments to try to ensure the smooth transfer of individuals or, in many cases, their release. So, we are the ones who conduct the diplomatic discussions with foreign governments whose nationals are detained at Guantanamo." "We've negotiated the terms and the arrangements for transfer."

He said: "We've encouraged countries to become involved in the process, including helping us to assess who these people are and what threat they might pose."

State Department Spokesman said the United States have had continuing discussions with a number of governments.

Q. And are there any issues with this programme that are troubling, sending them back for detention to the other places or not?

Boucher: We do have a policy position that we maintain and that we are very careful about, not to transfer a person to a country if we determine that it's more likely than not the person might be tortured. So, we're careful about that and we make decisions accordingly, but no, we've worked most of these agreements out with a number of governments and they seem to have worked fairly well.

"The issue, I think, is always what potential danger might they still pose and that's a judgment that we have to make in releasing people from Guantanamo and that's a judgment that, under their laws, other governments have to make in terms of whether they're charged or put in custody when they get home."

US army details Afghan prisoner abuse

Two Afghan prisoners who died in US custody in December 2002 were killed by US soldiers who chained them in standing positions and beat them, Human Rights Watch said on Saturday, citing US Army investigative reports.

The reports provide the first official account of events leading to the deaths of the two detainees, which the US military initially said were due to natural causes.

Among those implicated in the torture were members of the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion, which went on to establish an interrogation unit at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, the reports said.

Twenty-eight soldiers and reservists have been recommended for prosecution in connection with abuse of prisoners at a US detention facility in Bagram, Afghanistan, but only two have been charged so far, they said.

"This investigation doesn't show that these were isolated incidents. It shows that prisoners were being beaten regularly and it was a common thing and a common affair at the time," said John Fiston of Human Rights Watch.

Details

The New York Times, quoting the army report, said Mullah Habibullah died in an isolation cell on December-4, 2002, from a pulmonary embolism "apparently caused by blood clots formed in his legs from the beatings."

Another detainee identified as Dilawar died six days later in another isolation cell from "blunt force trauma to the lower extremities complicating coronary artery disease," the army report was quoted as saying.

Private Willie Brand, charged with manslaughter in a closed-door hearing in Texas last month, acknowledged striking Dilawar 37 times.

He was accused of "having maimed and killed him over a five-day period by ‘destroying his leg muscle tissue with repeated unlawful knee strikes,'" the Times said.

Among those recommended for prosecution is an Army military interrogator who is said to have "sexully absued" one of Afghan detainee.

The Army reports cited "credible information" that four military interrogators assaulted Dilawar and another Afghan prisoner with "kicks to the groin and leg, shoving or slamming him into walls/table, forcing the detainee to maintain painful, contorted body positions during interview and forcing water into his mouth until he could not breathe".

US military officials in Afghanistan initially said the deaths of Habibullah, in an isolation cell on Dec. 4, 2002, and Dilawar, in another such cell six days later, were from natural causes.

But after an investigation, the Army acknowledged the deaths were homicides, The New York Times said.?

Commentary:
Where's the outrage from the war media? Bush locked up people for no reason and is now forced to release them. The war media yawns at another gross violation of power. Bush's rubber stamp congress is just as bad. We can't wait until the "rule of law" to be relevant again.

Perhaps some of these people will sue the US for false detention, kidnaping, torture and other abuses.