Ex-Guantanamo detainee freed in France

10th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 9 (AFP) - One of the three French citizens handed over to France this week by the United States after being held at its Guantanamo naval base in Cuba was freed Wednesday by French authorities, his lawyer said.

PARIS, March 9 (AFP) - One of the three French citizens handed over to France this week by the United States after being held at its Guantanamo naval base in Cuba was freed Wednesday by French authorities, his lawyer said.

Mustaq Ali Patel was released after being held by French authorities for 48 hours and was met by his family, his lawyer William Bourdon said.

The last three French 'war on terror' detainees at Guantanamo Bay were returned home on Tuesday, and taken into custody as part of an investigation into criminal association linked to terrorist activities.

They were to face questioning about their activities before their arrest at the time of the American intervention in Afghanistan at the end of 2001.

The detention of the other two prisoners sent back to France, Ridouane Khalid and Khaled Ben Mustafa, was expected to be extended on Wednesday evening, a law enforcement source told AFP.

Khalid, 36, has two brothers already under investigation for alleged terrorism-related crimes, while Ben Mustafa, 33, a married father of two, went to Afghanistan to learn Arabic, according to his family and lawyers.

Law enforcement sources have said Patel, who is aged about 40 and was born in India, has not figured in any investigations into terrorism.

Patel, who was said by police sources to have suffered psychological trauma during his detention, was reported to have been an imam at a French mosque and has family in Britain.

He had lived in Afghanistan for many years before his arrest in 2001.

His case had posed legal problems for France, until he was officially granted French nationality through his marriage to a woman from La Reunion, experts have said.

Four French men were sent back from Guantanamo in July and were detained facing charges of terrorist conspiracy. They are suspected of spending time in Al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan and belonging to a network that recruited Islamic militants.

There are about 540 detainees from 40 countries at the Camp X-Ray maximum security facility at Guantanamo. Most were detained in Afghanistan following the US-led campaign to topple the Taliban and catch Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

The United States has stepped up transfers from Guantanamo to its allies in recent months, as criticism of the camp and the legal action taken against holding the inmates has mounted.

© AFP

Subject: French News

0 Comments To This Article