Ex-Guantanamo prisoners in French detention

28th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 28 (AFP) - Four French nationals just released from the US prison complex at Guantanamo Bay have been ordered kept in preventive detention pending appearances before an anti-terrorist judge, court sources said Wednesday.

PARIS, July 28 (AFP) - Four French nationals just released from the US prison complex at Guantanamo Bay have been ordered kept in preventive detention pending appearances before an anti-terrorist judge, court sources said Wednesday.

The four men - Mourad Benchellali, Imad Manouni, Nizar Sassi and Brahim Yadel - were handed over to French authorities and flown back to France on Tuesday, after more than two years at the US-run prison in Cuba.

Paris obtained their release after giving guarantees that the men - captured between the end of 2001 and early 2002 in the US hunt for Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants -would face judicial proceedings in France.

The country's top anti-terrorist judge, Jean-Louis Bruguiere, has been investigating them since November 2002 on possible terrorism-related charges.

The men can be held for four days before they must go before a judge, who could then place them under investigation for "criminal association in relation with a terrorist organization" and order their continued detention.

The four, who have been examined by doctors and are in good health according to sources close to the inquiry, must therefore appear before a judge by midday Saturday.

Their repatriation follows the transfer of several other Europeans, including five British men who were flown home in March. Altogether some 135 detainees have been sent back to their home countries from Guantanamo.

Three French nationals remain at the Guantanamo Bay prison, where the United States is holding an estimated 600 prisoners.

The Pentagon said Tuesday it expected to release more detainees from Guantanamo.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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