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More Than Half of Guantanamo Detainees Not Accused of Hostile Acts

Monday, January 12, 2009

by Lolita C. Baldor
WASHINGTON – More than half of the terror suspects being held at Guantanamo Bay have not been accused of committing hostile acts against the United States or its allies, two of the detainees' lawyers said in a report released Tuesday.
Compiled from declassified Defense Department evaluations of the more than 500 detainees at the Cuba facility, the report says just 8 percent are listed as fighters for a terrorist group, while 30 percent are considered members of a terrorist group and the remaining 60 percent were just “associated with” terrorists.

Detainees hold onto a fence at Camp 4 of the maximum security prison Camp Delta at Guantanamo Naval Base, in Guantanamo, Cuba, in 2004. More than half of the US "war on terror" detainees at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba prison camp never committed any "hostile acts" against the United States, two lawyers said in a report.(AFP/Pool/File/Mark Wilson)
The evaluations were completed as part of the Combatant Status Review Tribunals conducted during 2004 to determine if the prisoners were being correctly held as enemy combatants. So far just 10 of the detainees have been formally charged with crimes and are headed for military tribunals. According to the report, 55 percent of the detainees are informally accused of committing a hostile act. But the descriptions of their actions ranged from a high-ranking Taliban member who tortured and killed Afghan natives to people who possessed rifles, used a guest house or wore olive drab clothing.
The report also found that about one-third of the detainees were linked to al-Qaeda; 22 percent to the Taliban; 28 percent to both; and 7 percent to either one or the other, but not specified.
“The government has detained these individuals for more than four years, without a trial or judicial hearing, and has had unfettered access to each detainee for that time,” said the report, written by lawyers who represent two of the detainees. The lawyers – Mark Denbeaux, a law professor at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, and Joshua Denbeaux – were assisted by Seton Hall law students.
A Pentagon spokesman had no comment on the report.
The documents, which are publicly available, were declassified versions of evaluations that contain additional information about each detainee. Those additional details were not made public.
The Associated Press has filed a lawsuit seeking the release of the classified versions of the documents.
Of the approximately 760 prisoners brought to Guantanamo since 2002, the military has released 180 and transferred 76 to the custody of other countries.


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