French citizen once held at Guantanamo freed

8th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 8 (AFP) - A French citizen held for two and half years at the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba has been freed by a court in France after spending a further year in detention, his lawyer said Friday.

PARIS, July 8 (AFP) - A French citizen held for two and half years at the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba has been freed by a court in France after spending a further year in detention, his lawyer said Friday.

Imad Achab Kanouni, 28, captured in 2001 by US forces when he attempted to escape from Afghanistan, was released Thursday on the instructions of top anti-terrorist judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere.

In all seven French citizens were held at Guantanamo. Six of them were charged with "criminal conspiracy in connection with a terrorist enterprise" and imprisoned when they were handed back to France in July 2004 and March 2005.

The son of a Moroccan father and a French mother, Kanouni was not known to the police until his presence in Guantanamo was notified in early 2002.

His lawyer said he had spent a year at a French university before going to live in Frankfurt in 1997 where until 2000 he did a "factory job".

He left in spring 2000 "by his own means for Afghanistan to live in a Muslim country," the lawyer said.

There were no indications he had attended a training camp while in Afghanistan.

After the attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001 and the US response against Afghanistan, the Taleban, then in control of the country, told foreigners to leave.

Kanouni headed for the border with Pakistan where he was taken in charge by local villagers who handed him over to the Pakistani police. They in turn delivered him to the US army "in return for money" according to Kanouni's lawyer.

He was held and questioned at Kandahar in Afghanistan by the Americans and according to his lawyer underwent "multiple ill-treatments".

© AFP

Subject: French news

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