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U.S. Frees 20 Detainees at Guantanamo

The detainees at the military prison in Cuba are returned to their home countries, then Guantanamo Bay adds 20 new prisoners.

November 25, 2003|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — The United States has released 20 prisoners from its Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, military prison for suspects in the U.S.-declared war on terrorism, and has replaced them with another 20, the Pentagon said Monday.

After the 20 detainees were sent to their home countries from Guantanamo on Friday, the U.S. military on Sunday brought 20 new suspects to the prison, which still holds about 660 detainees, the announcement said.

"Senior leadership of the Department of Defense, in consultation with other senior U.S. government officials, determined that these [20 released] detainees either no longer posed a threat to U.S. security or no longer required detention by the United States," the Pentagon said in a brief statement.

No charges have been filed against any of the 660 prisoners at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba. Defense officials say many are suspected of being members of Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network or of being Taliban fighters from the war in Afghanistan.

Human rights groups have criticized Washington for holding the detainees for a long period without charges. The U.S. Supreme Court, in a case involving two British, two Australian and 12 Kuwaiti detainees, agreed this month to decide whether foreign nationals could use American courts to challenge their incarceration at the base.

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