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Pentagon: 5% of released detainees commit terrorism

Defense Department report says another 9% have joined the fight against the U.S. and its allies after being freed from U.S. Navy prison at Guantanamo Bay.

May 27, 2009|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Five percent of Guantanamo Bay detainees have participated in terrorist activities since their release from the U.S. military prison, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

An additional 9% are thought to have joined -- or rejoined -- the fight against the United States and its allies, according to Defense Department data released amid a political fight over where to send the detainees if the prison closes in January as planned.

Constitutional scholars have long cast doubt on the Pentagon's detainee data. They say the military has not proven that at least some of those released were linked to terrorism in the first place.

The Pentagon maintains that all the suspects held at the detention center in Cuba were captured and, in most cases, held for years because of suspected ties to Al Qaeda, the Taliban or other groups.

"What this tells us is, at the end of the day, there are individuals that, if released, will again return to terrorist activities," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.

As of April 7, the latest data available, 74 of approximately 540 detainees who have been released have taken up the fight, or at least are suspected of doing so.

The Pentagon says it has fingerprints, DNA, photos or reliable intelligence to link 27 detainees to the war since their release. The other 47 detainees are thought to be involved with terrorist activity based on what the Pentagon described as significant reporting or analysis.

Terrorist activity includes participating in or funding attacks, plots or training camps, Whitman said. Speaking out against the United States or participating in other anti-U.S. propaganda is not considered terrorist activity.

A list of 29 of the released detainees the Pentagon distributed with the data shows that five of them have been killed and three taken back into custody. The Pentagon did not release the list of all 74 detainees.

Those on the partially released list included:

* Said Mohammed Alim Shah, who was sent to Afghanistan in March 2004, where he was released. The U.S. says it has linked him to the kidnapping of two Chinese engineers, an Islamabad hotel bombing and an April 2007 suicide attack that killed 31 people.

* Mohammed bin Ahmad Mizouz and Ibrahim bin Shakaran, released in Morocco in July 2004. They are accused of recruiting for Al Qaeda in Iraq.

* Timur Ravilich Ishmurat, sent to Russia in March 2004. The Pentagon says he was involved in a bombing.

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