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Guantanamo Prisoner Back Home in Spain

February 15, 2004|From Associated Press

MADRID — The lawyer of a Spaniard held for two years as a terrorist suspect at Guantanamo Bay celebrated his client's return home Saturday but complained about his treatment at the U.S. military jail.

"He's now a full human being again. Up to now he was an object in Guantanamo," said Javier Nart, a lawyer for Hamed Abderrahman Ahmad, who was handed over to Spain for prosecution Friday.

Nart gave no details about conditions at Guantanamo but called the U.S. base in Cuba "out of bounds" for human rights. About 650 detainees, suspected of supporting the Al Qaeda terrorist network and Afghanistan's Taliban forces, are being held there, almost all without charges or access to lawyers.

"Now he will respond to his charges in front of a judge. If he's innocent, he will be freed. If not, he'll go to jail. That's the proper way, not just putting people in jail like animals," said Nart, flanked by Ahmad's mother and sister at a news conference.

Ahmad appeared briefly before Judge Baltasar Garzon, who told him that he faced prosecution in Spain on charges of belonging to Al Qaeda. Garzon rejected a defense request to release Ahmad pending trial.

Ahmad, from Spain's North African enclave of Ceuta, was captured in Pakistan and transferred to Afghanistan in late 2001 before being sent to Guantanamo, Nart said.

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