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34 Detainees Flown From Afghanistan to Cuba Base

June 15, 2002|From Reuters

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba — The American military flew 34 more suspected Al Qaeda and Taliban captives Friday from Afghanistan to this U.S. base, bringing the prisoner population to 502, a U.S. official said.

The prisoners were given medical screenings and showers and moved into Camp Delta, the detention facility that replaced the makeshift chain-link cells at Camp X-Ray in April, said Army Lt. Col. Joe Hoey, a spokesman for the task force running the prison operation.

The U.S. military began bringing prisoners from Afghanistan to the naval base in January and is holding about 150 more in Afghanistan. Camp Delta can accommodate up to 612 prisoners.

Their fate remains uncertain. President Bush has authorized military tribunals that could try them, but none have been charged with crimes.

The anti-terrorist effort continued elsewhere as well, with a prosecutor saying that Belgium was investigating a possible link between Al Qaeda and a diamond robbery at Brussels National Airport two years ago.

"The proceeds worth some 253 million Belgian francs [$6.33 million] may have been used to finance a terrorist network," said Jos Colpin, spokesman for the Brussels public prosecutor's office.

Robbers stole five crates of diamonds from a Lufthansa aircraft parked on the tarmac on Oct. 31, 2000.

Police are investigating a possible link to two suspected Tunisian Al Qaeda members, Nizar Trabelsi and Fauze al Haddouti.

They were arrested in a crackdown on Islamic militants after Sept. 11.

Haddouti, Trabelsi and two others are suspected of planning attacks on U.S. targets, including a plot to blow up the U.S. Embassy in Paris.

Haddouti was released on bail in October, and Trabelsi is still in custody. Both men are charged with involvement in organized crime.

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