Ex-Guantanamo detainee still in French hospital

20th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

A former inmate at the US Guantanamo Bay prison camp is still in French military hospital, his health is satisfactory but he still requires medical attention.

Paris – A former inmate at the US Guantanamo Bay prison camp remained at a Paris area military hospital on Tuesday, four days after he arrived in France to start a new life, the foreign ministry said.

Algerian national Lakhdar Boumediene was in fragile health when he arrived in Paris on Friday, weakened by the seven years spent at Guantanamo including two on a hunger strike.

"His state of health is considered satisfactory even though he still requires medical attention to ensure that he is well," said foreign ministry spokesman Eric Chevallier.

"We consider him a free man and would like for him to be able to return to a normal life."

The 42-year-old father of two was being treated at Percy military hospital in Clamart, west of Paris, where he was taken after his arrival on a flight from Guantanamo.

France became the first European Union country to take in a former Guantanamo inmate with neither residency nor citizenship.

Boumediene was reunited with his Algerian wife Abassia Bouadjimi and his two daughters Radjaa, 13, and Rahma, 8, who met him at the airport and were being housed near the hospital.

His US lawyer Robert Kirsch had said that his client would spend a few days in hospital to undergo tests before moving to an apartment provided by the French government.

Boumediene was among six Guantanamo inmates arrested in Bosnia in 2001 and initially charged with plotting to attack the US embassy in Sarajevo.

Five of the six were cleared for release in November by a US judge who ruled they had been illegally detained.

Three of the men, who held dual Algerian-Bosnian nationalities, were transferred to their adopted homeland Bosnia in December -- the first Guantanamo inmates released by the administration of then president George W. Bush under a judge's orders.

President Nicolas Sarkozy had agreed following a meeting with President Barack Obama in Strasbourg last month to take in the detainee and said Europe should help Washington close down Guantanamo by taking in prisoners.

Boumediene's departure leaves 240 detainees in the Cuban island prison whose futures have still to be resolved.

AFP / Expatica

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